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Google Duo’s audio call feature is now available for all users...

It didn't take long for Duo to become more than just a video-chat app.

How police unmasked suspect accused of sending seizure-inducing tweet

Defendant's iCloud account contained "the exact" GIF used in the crime, cops say.

Virtual machine escape fetches $105,000 at Pwn2Own hacking contest [updated]

Hack worked by stitching together three separate exploits.

Man accused of sending a seizure-inducing tweet charged with cyberstalking [Updated]

Allegations are a first for an online attack with an epileptogenic image.

Australian leaders pledge funds for energy storage after billionaire Tweet bet

But lawmakers also propose new gas-fired plants to solve future energy crises.

Elon Musk on batteries for Australia: “Installed in 100 days or...

With South Australia facing blackouts, Tesla says it’s ready to build batteries.

Don’t Tweet: New tool gives insight into who’s behind Twitter “eggs”...

When an account makes 500 posts a day, that's a sure sign that there’s something amiss.

Why Elon Musk played nice with Donald Trump—but may not for...

For Musk, revamping the H-1B visa program is probably a deal breaker.

My advice to President Trump: Keep the private email servers, ditch...

Federal law actually requires private email server use. White House email expert David Gewirtz sets the record straight, and details the true risks of the President's use of Android and Twitter.

Tweet this: Trump White House potential info-security woes abound

An insecure phone, a press secretary posting his password, and private e-mail—really?

Kaspersky Lab Incident Investigations Head Arrested In Russia For 'Treason'

Security firm says the case doesn't affect its computer incidents investigation operations. Kaspersky Lab confirmed today that one of its top cybersecurity investigators was arrested in December in Russia, reportedly amid charges of treason. News of the arrest of Ruslan Stoyanov, head of Kaspersky Lab's computer incidents investigations unit, as well as Sergei Mikhailov, deputy head of the information security department at the FSB, first came via Kommersant, a Russian economic newspaper, and word later spread to US news media outlets. Stoyanov, who had been with Kaspersky Lab since 2012, led the firm's cybercrime investigation that ultimately led to the 2016 arrests of 50 members of the so-called Lurk cybercrime gang that stole more than $45 million from Russian financial institutions.

The case was said to be Russia's largest-ever crackdown on financial cybercrime. Stoyanov's arrest sent a chill throughout the security research community, with speculation by some that his cybercrime investigative efforts may have somehow gotten a little too close to Russian nation-state hacking efforts. Russian hacking has been in the spotlight since the US intelligence community published an unclassified report that concludes Russia - under the direction of Vladmir Putin - attempted to influence the US presidential election via hacks and leaks of data from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. According to Kaspersky Lab, the nature of Stoyanov's arrest predates his employment with the security firm. "The case against this employee does not involve Kaspersky Lab.

The employee, who is Head of the Computer Incidents Investigation Team, is under investigation for a period predating his employment at Kaspersky Lab," the company said in a statement. Stoyanov, a former head of network security for Russian ISP OJSC RTComm.RU, also was with Ministry Of Interior's Moscow-based Cyber Crime Unit in the early 2000s. Security experts say his arrest underscores the sometimes-blurred lines between Russian cybercrime gangs and cyber espionage activity. "I think he flew too close to the sun as his recent investigations more than likely unearthed elements of the Pawn Storm campaign," says Tom Kellermann, CEO fo Strategic Cyber Ventures. "This is a red flag to all security vendors who expose the nexus between the cybercriminal conspiracies and the Russian cyberespionage campaigns." Pawn Storm, aka Fancy Bear and APT 28, was one of the Russian state hacking groups implicated in election-related hacks against the US. Researcher Business As Usual While Kaspersky Lab said it had no information of the "details of the investigation" of Stoyanov and that no official information had been released by the Russian government on the case, the company also maintained that the arrest would not affect its current or future research into Russian cyber activities. The company said that "as an IT security company, Kaspersky Lab is determined to detect and neutralize all forms of malicious programs, regardless of their origin or purpose." For now, Stoyanov is officially suspended from his post at Kaspersky Lab, according to the company. "The work of Kaspersky Lab’s Computer Incidents Investigation Team is unaffected by these developments." Stoyanov in 2015 authored a detailed report for Kaspersky Lab on how Russian financial cybercrime works.

The report notes how the risk of prosecution is low for Russian-speaking cybercriminals: "The lack of established mechanisms for international cooperation also plays into the hands of criminals: for example, Kaspersky Lab experts know that the members of some criminal groups permanently reside and work in Russia’s neighbors, while the citizens of the neighboring states involved in criminal activity often live and operate in the territory of the Russian Federation," he wrote. "Kaspersky Lab is doing everything possible to terminate the activity of cybercriminal groups and encourages other companies and law enforcement agencies in all countries to cooperate," he wrote. Aleks Gostev, chief security expert for Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team, in a tweet today said that Stoyanov "never worked with any APT stuff," dismissing some online speculation that the arrest was somehow related to cyber espionage research. He tweeted that the case wouldn't stop the security firm from its work. Kaspersky Lab is "an international team of experts.
It's impossible to prevent us from releasing data." Related Content:   Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com.
She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ...
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Welcome to the world of trolling in virtual reality

Enlarge / Ahhh! I'm being attacked by an avatar who is REALLY, REALLY FRIENDLY.Rec Room reader comments 12 Share this story The future of VR systems may be uncertain, but as consumer-grade devices come down in price, we're probably going to see a lot of apps that go beyond gaming.

Companies are betting that VR (and, one day, AR) will become the new interface for what we're already doing on Web and mobile: shopping, working, and socializing.
Imagine Twitter in VR: thousands of trolls and idiots, screaming into your face forever.
Sounds like the apocalypse, right? Maybe.

Developers are already thinking about how to prevent abuse from ruining their VR spaces.

But first, they have to grapple with the changing face of trolling in VR. People troll each other online for a million reasons, but one of the most obvious is that it's simply much easier to say cruel things to someone who isn't physically in front of you.

Countless psychological studies have shown that people in real life have a difficult time saying negative things to each other's faces.

And this could actually be good news in the fight against online abuse in VR. Once VR social spaces are good enough to create decent facsimiles of our faces, engaging in mass mobbing or trolling may become harder.

There's a huge difference between sending a nasty tweet and speaking the same words to somebody's face. The question is, will our psychological blocks against insulting people to their faces actually kick in when we're in a virtual space? Preliminary evidence from early social VR spaces suggests the answer is complicated. The VR creepers Rec Room is a half-game, half-social space for Vive and Oculus Touch, and it already has problems with harassment.

A man trying to play charades captured video of a now-notorious player called Handibot groping him. Players are divided on whether this is scary or funny. Meanwhile, less ambiguous forms of harassment have cropped up: in the Steam forums for Rec Room, a player reports being sexually harassed three times.

They want to know how to block other players. Meanwhile, Jordan Belamire's account of being sexually harassed in the game QuiVr made headlines late last year.

Belamire had just gotten the hang of using the Vive to play the shoot-zombies-with-arrows game, when a guy decided to turn her into his prey: "Even when I turned away from him, he chased me around, making grabbing and pinching motions near my chest.

Emboldened, he even shoved his hand toward my virtual crotch and began rubbing." Admittedly, the avatars in these games look like cartoons. We still have a long way to go before talking to another person in VR feels the same as talking to a person IRL. Ars' intrepid VR critic Sam Machkovech walks us through Rec Room and shows us how to fend off creepers using the slightly overcomplicated interface. Still, it's easy to see that abuse in VR will get creepy.

To make friends and test out the UX, Ars' own Sam Machkovech did a tour of Rec Room. What he discovered (see the video above) was how hard it is to keep people from getting in your face. Partly that's because the interface is still wonky and everyone is a newbie.

But it's also because companies making social VR apps are trying to deal with abuse the same way most social apps on the Web do—which is to say, they don't make it simple, and often the tools to stop abuse are buried several menus deep. Ghosting, blocking, muting Rec Room has a series of incredibly complicated steps you can take to "ghost" another player. "Ghosting" basically involves shutting out the offender for the length of a play session (you have to re-ghost them again next time you log in). You can also lower other players' voices and report players who violate the Rec Room code of conduct, listed at the bottom of the app description in the Steam store.

Another VR social app, vTime, allows players to block each other.

These solutions sound a bit like the bully blocking setup that the main character uses in Ernest Cline's popular sci-fi novel Ready Player One, in which everybody attends high school in VR. Whenever somebody starts taunting our hero, he just ghosts them and continues strolling to his locker. But, of course, abuse in VR isn't the same thing as abuse on Facebook, and blocking or ghosting may not be enough.

That's why Rec Room has a "personal space boundaries" setting that allows you to set exactly how close people can get to your avatar. Worried that you might get groped? Just set a personal boundary that doesn't allow anyone to get near you. Of course, this might interfere with games like pick-up basketball, but it's perfect for social settings where you aren't sure what to expect. Most social VR apps have at least some community standards, but possibly the most elaborate one can be found at AltspaceVR.

The company has a clear and detailed Community Standards document, which states that people making racist or xenophobic comments will have their accounts suspended (although Mashable's Adario Strange recently went to a comedy show in AltspaceVR and noted that racism cropped up within minutes of entering the world). The future of community standards AltspaceVR defines what harassment is in the VR environment and clearly delineates it from "2D harassment": Like with real-world interaction, users in VR can feel social discomfort if those that they are interacting with are violating normal real-world personal space.

This may include the proximity of one avatar to another, the placement of motion-captured hands, arms or legs close to the avatar's face, or even a high speed approach and passing of one avatar through another. 2D users have to be aware that those in VR experience these sensations very differently.
If a user expresses discomfort with a particular behavior and the activity continues, this can be considered harassment and may result in account suspension or termination. Unlike many social spaces online, AltspaceVR makes clear whose responsibility it is to deal with harassment. "If another community member expresses that something makes them uncomfortable, it is your responsibility to cease that behavior in the presence of them." This line may sound like legalese, but it's actually a key component of a good community policy.
Instead of asking the person who is harassed to "just get used to it" or "ignore that person," this policy makes it the responsibility of the accused harasser to stop the unwanted behavior or risk suspension. And yet AltspaceVR discourages users from reporting people for abuse, suggesting instead that they "click the 'Mute' button on their nametag." Muting is basically like ghosting—you no longer see the avatar moving and can't hear them speaking. None of these systems for blocking, ghosting, and muting deal with the problem of players creating a zillion sock puppet accounts. Neither do these systems prevent mobbing, unless you have a personal space perimeter à la Rec Room.

Even with a perimeter, mobbing would be pretty overwhelming and awful. It's encouraging to see companies building anti-abuse and anti-trolling features into their social spaces from the beginning, especially since Twitter has taken almost a decade to get to where Rec Room and AltspaceVR are now with abuse prevention measures.

But social relationships in VR are likely to be different from the ones we have online today, so are the old rules of blocking going to be enough?