Turn your GoPro into a 3D camera!

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The most basic requirement for filming 3D content is to have two video sources (left and right), achieved by two lenses. Apparently you don’t even need those anymore and my life has been a lie all along. You can literally shoot stereoscopic 3D with one lens now, and Vitrima’s mount for the GoPro does just that!

The Vitrima Lens is a case with a twist. It snaps on the GoPro, and instantly turns one video stream into two separate channels, making your regular 2D GoPro a stereoscopic 3D recording device that you can then view on your VR headset! However it isn’t as simple as you’d think. You can’t just take a video and split it in half and have 3D content. Vitrima Lens uses a clever orientation of mirrors to make sure it captures the exact same content in both left and right channels with just the right amount of variation in order to make the resulting image/video pop out as if it were recorded by a 3D camera. To top it all off, the Vitrima’s front glass panel is coated with an anti-glare layer, making sure you don’t get annoying reflections and lens-flares messing with your 3D content.

The only perceivable caveats of the Vitrima are rather small. Since the Vitrima splits the GoPro’s recording capabilities into two, A. You’re recording at half the aspect ratio, which means your videos are going to be virtually squarish (8:9), rather than a 16:9 landscape, and B. Given the size limitations of the Vitrima Lens, there won’t be a massive variation between left and right channels, meaning it won’t compare to the kind of depth you see in 3D films at your local movie theater. However, given that the Vitrima Lens is a mere (reasonably priced) add-on for your existing camera, the very prospect of recording 3D is a rather innovative achievement!

Debuting just a year back on Indiegogo, and getting an Honorary Innovation Award at the CES this year, the Vitrima Lens is now completely out of its crowdfunding phase and is up for grabs!

Designer: Fantem

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Disney showed us the inner workings of its Avatar robot and it’s just incredible

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VIDEO

Back at the end of May, Disney opened an Avatar-themed area (Pandora: World of Avatar) within its Animal Kingdom park. Given that it’s only been open for a few weeks, most folks still haven’t been inside — but if you do go, do yourself a favor and take the time to check out the Na’vi River Journey ride. The end of the ride features an animatronic Na’vi (Avatar’s blue humanoid species), and it’s easily one of the finest examples of animatronics ever built.

At our TechCrunch Sessions Robotics event in Boston this afternoon, we got a look at what’s going on inside.

When it’s all sealed up, the Na’vi Shaman looks like this:

VIDEO

But pull back the mask, and an incredible, beautifully complex array of robotics lays beneath:

Disney has been paving new grounds with animatronics for decades now (The Tiki Room’s birds and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln namesake robo-president date back to 1963 and 1964 respectively), but the Na’vi Shaman takes things to a whole new level in terms of expressiveness, fluidity of motion, and the ability to blow your mind.

Curious what the whole thing looks like when it’s all together and you’re on the ride? Here’s that:

VIDEO

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It only took hackers 3 minutes to steal $7 million worth of Ether

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It only took hackers 3 minutes to steal $7 million worth of Ether

Oops.Oops.

Image: Shutterstock / Lightboxx

All it took was three minutes. 

Shortly after going live, CoinDash’s July 17 Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was in serious trouble. The company, which allows for the trading of the popular cryptocurrency Ether (the “money unit” of the Ethereum platform), was all set for a big fundraising round with investors given the chance to invest in CoinDash with Ether. It’s a well-established practice similar to an IPO: Buy into a company now in exchange for tokens, which are in some sense analogous to stock, and hope to reap the rewards later. 

It didn’t exactly work out as planned. 

As explained after the fact on the company’s website, hackers managed to change one tiny but important detail on the CoinDash website just as the ICO was scheduled to begin: The Ethereum wallet address. That little change was all it took to redirect cryptocurrency slated for CoinDash into the wallet of the attacker. 

“It is unfortunate for us to announce that we have suffered a hacking attack during our Token Sale event,” the company explained. “During the attack $7 million were stolen by a currently unknown perpetrator.”

According to a screenshot of the company’s internal Slack, posted to Reddit and confirmed as authentic by Motherboard, CoinDash realized what was happening within three minutes — but the damage was done. 

Well this is bad.

Well this is bad.

Angry online commenters, who may or may not have fallen prey to the scam, quickly took to Reddit to vent their frustration — with some hinting at the possibility of an inside job. 

“Is there any proof that this was a hack,” wondered one Redditor. “What if Coindash put an address in and then cried hacker to get away with free ETH?”

“This propably [sic] was a set up from the beginning,” speculated another

However, those that sent their Ether to the wrong address may not be entirely out of luck. CoinDash says it will still issue tokens to anyone who was swindled (as long as it happened before company employees shut their site down upon discovery of the hack). 

“CoinDash is responsible to all of its contributors and will send CDTs [CoinDash Tokens] reflective of each contribution,” the company further noted on its site. “Contributors that sent ETH to the fraudulent Ethereum address, which was maliciously placed on our website, and sent ETH to the CoinDash.io official address will receive their CDT tokens accordingly.”

CoinDash, for its part, did manage to raise $6.4 million from its “early contributors and whitelist participants” before things went south. 

As for the stolen Ether? Well, that’s just chilling in a wallet, waiting until the crook comes to collect. And, unless the perp left some clues behind during the hack itself, he or she will soon be sitting pretty with their ill-gotten gains. Following laundered cryptocurrency, after all, is a notoriously difficult task. 

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Venezuela has less than $10 billion — lowest reserves in over 20 years

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  • Venezuela has less than $10 billion — lowest reserves in over 20 years

    From cnn.com

    Meanwhile, Maduro’s government keeps running out of money as debt payments loom. Venezuela owes nearly $5 billion for the rest of this year.

    The country’s ability to pay its debt “is looking increasingly fragile,” says Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, a research firm.

    Fears are rising that Venezuela will default this year. Some economists caution, however, that Maduro’s regime could get by in the short term if it lets reserves fall further.

    Related: Venezuela hikes up minimum wage for third time this year

    That scary financial backdrop is a major reason why Venezuela suffers … (full story)

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    Kaspersky in the crosshairs

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    Kaspersky is in what you might call "a bit of a pickle."

    The Russian cybersecurity firm, famous for its antivirus products and research reports on active threat groups is facing mounting accusations of working with, or for, the Russian government.

    These accusations have been made in press and infosec gossip for years. In the past month there’s been more scuttlebutt in the press, an NSA probe surfaced, and the Senate got involved by pushing for a product ban. This week things reached a peak with fresh accusations from Bloomberg and a surprising attack from the Trump administration. Which is odd, considering how eager the current regime is to please and grease the wheels of its Russian counterparts.

    Either way, Kaspersky is really in a tight spot this time. The hammer dropped Tuesday when Bloomberg published Kaspersky Lab Has Been Working With Russian Intelligence. It comes from the same reporters who started 2015’s "banyagate," in which Kaspersky Lab Has Close Ties to Russian Spies alleged CEO Eugene Kaspersky colluded with Russian intel in secret sauna meetings.

    In each instance Kaspersky — the company, and its CEO of the same name — issued statements refuting the articles point by point and denying the accusations.

    This week’s piece claims to be operating on information from 2009 internal company emails obtained from anonymous sources. In them, the company allegedly discusses working on a DDoS product for a Russian government entity.

    Without technical descriptions, what Bloomberg wrote about the deployment and maintenance of the DDoS product is quite hazy. On the one hand, it comes across as maybe nefarious; on the other, it’s maybe just enterprise-level threat services. The article did state that Kaspersky participates in "hacking back" on the Russian government’s behalf and that the company’s employees also go on raids with the FSB — both of which are incredibly serious charges which aren’t fully substantiated.

    In its statement, Kaspersky said that it does not hack back, but it does assist Russian law enforcement, saying:

    "Regardless of how the facts are misconstrued to fit in with a hypothetical, false theory, Kaspersky Lab, and its executives, do not have inappropriate ties with any government. The company does regularly work with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world with the sole purpose of fighting cybercrime."

    Here I’ll say a couple of things "everyone knows" but few want to admit (or will like to hear). Cybersecurity firms have gone from being infosec startups to becoming intelligence brokers, no matter how anyone tries to package it. This is a permanent feature in the infosec landscape.

    What upsets people even more, is that pretty much everyone has worked for, or with, a government or law enforcement at some point. Infosec isn’t black and white: Good luck finding someone in infosec that hasn’t worked for the government — any government — or knows exactly who they’ve worked for at any given time, for that matter.

    Which brings us back to Kaspersky.

    So far there’s been no public evidence to substantiate accusations that Kaspersky is under Kremlin influence. Yet Bloomberg’s article moved the needle in Washington.

    It got a reaction from Senate Democrats, who are rightfully freaked out about Russian government meddling, and also got action from the Trump camp, which is … worth a closer look. For the past few months, DC’s scrutiny of Kaspersky and any alleged ties to the Kremlin (which Kaspersky denies) has only increased as suspicion about the Trump regime has exploded. This paranoia makes sense, even if the lack of concrete public evidence (so far as we know) makes it illogical.

    Around July 4, the Senate Armed Services Committee recommended banning the Department of Defense (the Pentagon) from using Kaspersky’s products in 2018. As in, they’re using them now, but they’ll be dropped in the future.

    Just before that, on June 25th a "counter-intelligence inquiry" saw the FBI going to the homes of around a dozen Kaspersky employees in the US. Agents questioned employees about their company’s operations, but we didn’t hear anything further.

    US Pentagon at sunset

    To avoid being banned from the Pentagon’s defense contracts, in response Eugene Kaspersky offered the US government access to his company’s source code. This is ostensibly to show that there are no Russian government backdoors in his products (like antivirus software), which is one of the suspicions. Infosec chatter noted that this wouldn’t make much of a difference either way, considering that antivirus products basically act like rootkits anyway; an antivirus program has access to the advanced privileges in your computer and "calls home" for its updates.

    Keep in mind that a lot of us are wondering about evidence as to whether or not Kaspersky and company are tools for the Russian government.

    Which brings us to Trump. The Trump administration, being a fiefdom operating under its own mysterious reasons, jumped on the anti-Kaspersky bandwagon this week. Appearing to take its cue from Bloomberg’s article, Trump’s regime moved quickly to stop a few government agencies from using Kaspersky products. Tuesday ABC News reported that Trump was considering a government-wide ban.

    Shortly after that the General Services Administration (GSA) took Kaspersky off the list of approved vendors for two government contracts. This makes it prohibitive for agencies to purchase or use the company’s products.

    "After review and careful consideration, the General Services Administration made the decision to remove Kaspersky Lab-manufactured products from GSA IT Schedule 70 and GSA Schedule 67 – Photographic Equipment and Related Supplies and Services," a GSA spokesman said.

    That’s the weird part. For an administration that says its eager to please the Russian government, it’s a contradiction to have the GSA harm the business of a Russian company. Unlike the speculation about Kaspersky, the GSA is absolutely a proven tool of the Trump administration. It is not on the side of those who want to see Robert Mueller succeed with the Trump-Russia investigation.

    The GSA’s new chief was handpicked by Trump and is currently in deep trouble for letting Trump violate the Constitution in regard to his Washington DC Hotel. When senators ask for answers from the GSA about its lenient dealings with Trump, they get obfuscation and silence.

    Meanwhile, Kaspersky is under fire from its own community. Infosec is becoming more divided about Kaspersky by the day. Some infosec thought leaders are saying "it’s about time" people stopped trusting and using Kaspersky products. This is another huge contradiction on its own: The industry relies — and in some cases depends — on Kaspersky’s admittedly top-notch, publicly available research on a wide variety of global threat groups (yes, including Russian ones).

    That research has gotten everyone out of tight spots. When the Shadow Brokers dumped exploits into the wild and advantageous threat actors started weaponizing them, Kaspersky’s research was where the most reputable cybersecurity companies referred people to for systems patches and protection. There’s no doubt that the Shadow Brokers (widely believed to be a Russian state entity) would’ve had much more of a field day if Kaspersky hadn’t actively worked to undermine the effects of the dump.

    I’m not here to bury Kaspersky or to praise it. With few exceptions, I can assure you that pretty much every company that comes near infosec is shady. We don’t know hard facts behind the accusations against Kaspersky, which is frustrating, but we do know that their research contributions have been invaluable.

    Typically, research like that sits behind a company’s six-figure enterprise-level paywalls. I just hope that research, and its spirit, doesn’t go away. The future doesn’t look great for the company right now in the US. The Senate Armed Services Committee’s defense-spending policy bill barring Kaspersky’s antivirus software seems to have legs, and that would definitely be a punitive measure against the company. It will need to get approval from the Senate and House before being signed by Trump, but that’s now surprisingly possible.

    Maybe Kaspersky’s dogged researchers found the pee tapes? We can only hope.

    Images: Getty Images/iStockphoto (Pentagon); Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images (Eugene Kaspersky)

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    Load Up On Hundreds Of Kindle Books For Super Cheap

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    Kindle Book Sale

    Summer is the time that most people get around to reading all of the books they’ve put aside for the last year (or four) but it’s going to be even harder to get through the backlog with the Kindle book sale going on right now. That reading “to do” list is going to double in size.

    Check out all of the titles on a deep discount right now. If you’re into business books, grab The Millionaire Mind, The Inspiration Code: How the Best Leaders Energize People Every Day or Reboot Your Life or Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life.

    If you’re into cooking, grab The Barbecue Bible or Slow Fire: The Beginner’s Guide to Lip-Smacking Barbecue for super cheap.

    Sports and fitness freaks can get their fill with awesome titles like Primal Endurance, No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 and Bear Grylls autobiography Mud, Sweat, and Tears.

    Check out all of the Kindle books on sale and load up now.

    Shop Now

    The BroBible team writes about gear that we think you want. Occasionally, we write about items that are a part of one of our affiliate partnerships and we may get a percentage of the revenue from sales.

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    Ataribox will come in two suitably retro editions

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    Just over a month since its announcement at E3, Atari is offering a proper look at its first console in over 20 years. In an email to fans, the company reveals the Ataribox will come in two editions, both of which pair a recognizably retro aesthetic with contemporary design flourishes.

    As revealed in the teaser vid, one version of the Ataribox draws its design cues from the brown wood found on the original Atari 2600. The other edition comes in red and black with a glass front panel. Both will include ribbed lines that flow around the console’s body and a raised back. A front-facing logo and four indicator lights complete the design. On the back are included a HDMI port, four USB ports, and SD card support.

    Although the company is keeping tight-lipped about the console’s specs, it sounds like it will be more than just a NES Classic for the Atari set. The latest info has it that the Ataribox will boast a mix of classic and contemporary titles. Then again, it could do a lot worse than aping Nintendo’s money-raking nostalgia cash-ins.

    There’s still no word on pricing, release dates or games — things that might help drum up hype for the new hardware. Atari has a decent library of titles, too, stretching from arcade classic Centipede to this year’s Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch. The company has also been tight-lipped on who, if anyone, it will work with in the wider development community.

    Atari believes that keeping quiet is the best policy for now, however, saying that it wants to nail its first console in two decades. "We know you are hungry for more," said the email sent to customers. "We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step." Atari fans are definitely a patient bunch, that’s for sure.

    Source: Atari email (via Reddit)

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    Nearly 90,000 Sex Bots Invaded Twitter in ‘One of the Largest Malicious Campaigns Ever Recorded on a Social Network’

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    Screencap: ZeroFOX

    Last week, Twitter’s security team purged nearly 90,000 fake accounts after outside researchers discovered a massive botnet peddling links to fake “dating” and “romance” services. The accounts had already generated more than 8.5 million posts aimed at driving users to a variety of subscription-based scam websites with promises of—you guessed it—hot internet sex.

    The bullshit accounts were first identified by ZeroFOX, a Baltimore-based security firm that specializes in social-media threat detection. The researchers dubbed the botnet “SIREN” after sea-nymphs described in Greek mythology as half-bird half-woman creatures whose sweet songs often lured horny, drunken sailors to their rocky deaths—presumably for the purpose of feasting upon their vitamin-deficient corpses.

    ZeroFOX’s research into SIREN offers a rare glimpse into how efficient scammers have become at bypassing Twitter’s anti-spam techniques. Further, it demonstrates how effective these types of botnets can be: The since-deleted accounts collectively generated upwards of 30 million clicks—easily trackable since the links all used Google’s URL shortening service.

    The 90,000 accounts were all created using roughly the same formula: A profile picture of a stereotypically attractive young woman whose tweets included sexually suggestive, if not poorly written remarks that invite users to “meet” with them for a “sex chat.” Millions of users apparently fell for the ruse and, presumably, a small fraction of went on to provide their payment card information to the pornographic websites they were lured to.

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    “The accounts either engage directly with a target by quoting one of their tweets or attracting targets to the payload visible on their profile bio or pinned tweet,” ZeroFOX reports. Roughly 20 percent of the accounts lay dormant for a year before sending their first tweets, an effort to evade Twitter’s anti-spam detection.

    Here’s just a brief sample of the hilariously bad tweets generated by these obviously fake accounts:

    • “I want to #fondle me?”
    • “I want to take my #virgin?”
    • “Came home from training, tired wildly?”
    • “Meow, I want to have sex.”
    • “Boys like you, my figure?”
    • “Want a vulgar, young man?”

    The tweets further included links to affiliate programs—web pages that typically redirect users to other adult websites. Members of these programs, which traditionally rely heavily on spam, receive payouts based on the amount of traffic they send to subscription-based porn and so-called “adult dating” websites. Likewise, many of the “dating” websites are themselves scams, chiefly comprised of fake female profiles which encourage visitors to sign up for paid subscriptions with promises of lame cybersex and nudes. (PSA: There are literally no women on the internet that want to have sex with you.)

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    According to ZeroFOX, two out of five of the domains tweeted by the SIREN botnet are associated with a company called Deniro Marketing. Deniro Marketing was identified earlier this year by noted security researcher Brian Krebs as being tied to a “porn-pimping spam botnet.” (Krebs also filed a report Monday regarding ZeroFOX’s discovery.) The company reportedly settled a lawsuit in 2010 for an undisclosed sum after being accused of operating an online dating service overrun with fake profiles of young women.

    A Deniro Marketing employee who answered the phone at its California headquarters on Monday said that no one was available to respond to inquiries from reporters.

    While it seems unlikely that Deniro Marketing created the fake accounts itself, it may have contracted a third party—likely located somewhere in Russia or Eastern Europe—to spread the links for them. A “large chunk” of the accounts’ self-declared languages were Russian, ZeroFOX reports, and approximately 12.5 percent of the bot names contained letters from the Cyrillic alphabet.

    Advertisement

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    “To our knowledge, the botnet is one of the largest malicious campaigns ever recorded on a social network,” ZeroFox concludes. Luckily, none of the links tweeted by the SIREN botnet appear to contain malware, nor were any associated with phishing attempts. But with more than 30 million clicks, the discovery reveals what a threat such an operation could be if the goal were shifted slightly to include, for example, the spread of ransomware.

    Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    [ZeroFOX]

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    Neil deGrasse Tyson reveals the biggest misconceptions people have about the universe

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    Neil deGrasse Tyson explains some of the biggest misconceptions we have about the universe.

    Darren Weaver contributed to an earlier version of this video.

    Follow Tech Insider: On Facebook


    StarTalk Radio is a podcast and radio program hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, where comic co-hosts, guest celebrities, and scientists discuss astronomy, physics, and everything else about life in the universe. Follow StarTalk Radio on Twitter, and watch StarTalk Radio "Behind the Scenes" on YouTube.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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