Thursday, January 31, 2019

0 The US smart home market is finally entering the mass market after overcoming the chasm it sat in for the last few years

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smart home voice assistant benefits

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The US smart home market has still yet to meet the expectations many observers had in the early part of this decade.

The same issues Business Insider Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space — persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers' lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.

But the newfound popularity of smart home voice control has revolutionized smart home ecosystems across the country, and convinces more consumers to equip their homes with smart devices on a daily basis. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, has become immensely popular and capable, awakening users to the utility of both voice control and smart home devices. This has prompted companies to rush to release competing devices and integrate voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

In a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, we examine the overall state of the US smart home market — both the professionally and self-installed markets. We analyze the factors driving demand for smart home devices and smart home voice speakers, and discuss the future of voice control in the home.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Voice control is becoming a key remote interface within the home, a trend that began with the introduction of the Amazon Echo in 2014. Since then, Google, Samsung, and Apple have all integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
  • While progress has been made, prices are still too high and consumers still have yet to show strong demand for smart home devices.
  • The US smart home market is only now entering the mass market phase of consumer adoption and overcoming the chasm that it sat in back in 2015.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from Business Insider Intelligence's proprietary survey.
  • Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
  • Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
  • Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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0 Fans are complaining that Justin Bieber's new clothing line is overpriced, but it's already sold out

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0 67 pictures from every single year of Queen Elizabeth II's record reign

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The Queen longest reign

  • Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 67 years since ascending to the British throne on Wednesday, February 6 2019.
  • Her Majesty is the world's longest-serving monarch.
  • She has outlasted 13 British prime ministers and 13 US presidents during her time as Britain's head of state.
  • Here's a photo from every year of her record reign.

Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating 67 years since she ascended to the British throne on Wednesday, February 6.

In her time as Britain's head of state, she has undertaken official overseas visits to more than 120 countries and outlasted 13 British prime ministers and 13 US presidents. 

To celebrate, we delved into the archives to bring you an iconic photo from each year of her reign.  

Read more:  Prince Charles is 70 — here's the best photo from every year of his royal career

Scroll down to see 67 of the most incredible pictures of Queen Elizabeth II from every single year she's been on the throne.

Charles Clark contributed to an earlier version of this story.

1953: On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey, making her the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the iconic church. Although she officially became queen in 1952 after the passing of her father, King George, her coronation wasn't until a year later. An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched the ceremony on TV.



1954: Since coming to the throne, she has held regular audience with 13 prime ministers. In this photo, the queen and Winston Churchill wait at Waterloo Station in London for the Queen Mother to arrive back from a month in the US.



1955: The queen plays a key role in maintaining diplomatic relationships with other countries. Here, she arrives by car at the Portuguese Embassy in London's Belgrave Square to attend a dinner party thrown in their honour by the visiting Portuguese president and Madame Craveiro Lopes.



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0 A huge car fire has broken out at Newark Airport

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newark airport fire smoke

  • At least a dozen cars caught on fire at Newark Airport on Thursday morning.
  • Video footage showed a huge plume of black smoke coming from the cars.
  • Firefighters are on the scene.
  • The airport closed down part of its arrivals area and the affected parking garage.

At least a dozen cars caught on fire at a parking lot at Newark Liberty Airport on Thursday morning, sending a huge plume of black smoke into the air.

The affected parking lot is near a number of runways.

Newark Airport said it closed the Terminal C parking garage and Level 1 of arrivals "due to an active fire."

The local ABC7 news broadcast footage of the burning cars and firefighters on the scene.

newark airport cars on fire

newark airport car fire smoke

Twitter user @zach_shaw_ also posted a video of the smoke from a distance.

The cause of the fire is not known. No injuries have been reported, NBC New York reported.

INSIDER was unable to contact Newark Airport's press office.

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0 Venezuela's 'interim president' set himself 3 tests to secure power. He just changed the hardest one to something he already has

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Juan Guaido

  • Juan Guaidó is running a campaign to replace Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who he says has lost legitimacy. The US and many other countries are backing him.
  • Last week, Guaidó framed his attempt as a three-step process: secure popular support, international support, and the military.
  • In his latest public pronouncement — an op-ed for the New York Times — Guaidó appeared to shift his thinking.
  • He restated the importance of international support, and the Venezuelan people. But instead of emphasizing the military, he restated the importance of Venezuela's National Assembly.
  • He is already majority leader in the assembly.
  • Guaidó still acknowledges the need to win over the military, but the change in emphasis is telling.

Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader who describes himself in as the country's "interim president" last week, appears to have changed one of his three criteria for taking power from beleaguered President Nicolás Maduro.

Guaidó used to say that he needed the backing of the Venezuelan people, the international community, and the military to effect a successful transfer of power.

However, a Wednesday op-ed in The New York Times, Guaidó appeared to reframe his campaign. He dropped the tough ask of military support, to instead talk up the National Assembly.

Guaidó is already the majority leader of the National Assembly, which is Venezuela's parliament. He stepped up as Maduro's main challenger this month as massive anti-government protests erupted across the country.

Juan Guaido

According to The Associated Press, Guaidó previously said he needed support from three groups: The Venezuelan people, the international community, and the military.

The military is the toughest of the three to crack. Since the unrest stepped up, Venezuela's military leaders have pledged their loyalty to Maduro, and personnel continue to act in his support.

It is difficult to measure Guaidó's popular support around the country, but tens of thousands marched in support of him last week. Guaidó's claims that 84% of Venezuelans reject Maduro's rule.

Read more: Meet Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela who’s challenging Nicolas Maduro for power

venezuela guaido maduro

Guaidó's goalposts

In his op-ed, Guaidó acknowledged that he still needed "support from key military contingents" and "the military's withdrawal of support from Mr. Maduro" to bring about a change in government.

However, the shift in emphasis downgraded military support from a core pillar of his efforts to instead be one of many steps.

The US, EU, Canada, and almost all of Latin America have recognized Guaidó as the country's interim president. 

Spain, Britain, Germany, and France also told Maduro to call new elections or else they will formally recognize Guaidó as interim president who will call the new vote.

Maduro's government responded by saying other countries had no "power to issue deadlines or ultimatums to a sovereign people."

Shortly after US President Donald Trump recognized Guaidó as interim president, Maduro also told all US diplomats in the country to leave. Washington has refused to obey that order.

Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Cuba are among the countries who have pledged support for Maduro.

trump maduro

It is difficult to measure Guaidó's popular support around the country, but tens of thousands marched in support of him last week. He also wrote that 84% of Venezuelans reject Maduro's rule.

Venezuela's military leaders have pledged their loyalty to Maduro. Since anti-Maduro protests erupted earlier this month, many law-enforcement officers have been raiding neighborhoods around the country and attacking civilians to intimidate Maduro's critics, Bloomberg reported.

Read more: Venezuela's Maduro has been blacking out social media — and sometimes the whole internet — to stifle his US-backed opposition

Juan Guaido

Don't call me 'self-proclaimed'

Guaidó also argued against the notion that his ascendancy to interim president was a "self-proclamation." He said that according to the Venezuelan Constitution, "if at the outset of a new term there is no elected head of state, power is vested in the president of the National Assembly until free and transparent elections take place."

Maduro swore in for a second, six-year term as Venezuela's president on January 10. Critics accused him of vote rigging and say that his presidency is unconstitutional and fraudulent.

Guaidó swore in as interim president on January 23.

"It was not of my own accord that I assumed the function of president that day, but in adherence to the Constitution," Guaidó wrote.

He has appeared to exercise that power already. He wrote on Wednesday that he had started appointing ambassadors abroad, and "locating and recovering" assets belonging to the Venezuelan government.

Earlier this week he also wrote to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, asking them not to grant Maduro access to $1.2 billion of Venezuelan gold reserves at the bank.

He said that Maduro would sell the gold and use the money "to repress and brutalize the Venezuelan people."

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0 10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, FB, TSLA, MSFT, DB)

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Polar Vortex

Here is what you need to know.

  1. The Fed says it'll be patient on future rate hikes. The Federal Open Market Committee held its key interest rate in a range between 2.25% and 2.5% on Wednesday, and in his press conference following the decision, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he didn't know whether the next move would be an interest-rate hike or cut.
  2. The Fed told the stock market exactly what it wanted to hear. Powell said the Fed's balance sheet wasn't on "automatic pilot" and it wouldn't shrink much further, sending the S&P 500 to a gain of 1.5%.
  3. Stock markets around the world were higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.08%) led the gains in Asia Thursday, and Britain's FTSE (+0.44%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.15% near 2,685.
  4. Italy has officially entered a recession. Europe's fourth-largest economy contracted 0.2% in the fourth quarter, after shrinking 0.1% in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the statistics agency Istat.
  5. Facebook soars after crushing earnings. Facebook shares climbed 12% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the social-media company delivered top- and bottom-line results that were well above Wall Street estimates.
  6. Elon Musk declares Tesla will be profitable for 'all quarters going forward.' Tesla's CEO made the comments on the electric-car maker's fourth-quarter earnings call, after the company posted just its third quarterly profit.
  7. Microsoft just misses on earnings. The most valuable company in the world by market cap earned $1.08 a share, missing estimates by a penny, as revenue matched the $32.5 billion than analysts were expecting. Shares were trading down about 2%.
  8. Deutsche Bank is bracing for a forced merger by the middle of the year. Executives at the bank are becoming increasingly concerned that a government-brokered merger with Commerzbank may be their only option, Bloomberg says.
  9. Earnings reports keep coming. Altria, Ferrari, General Electric, MasterCard, and UPS are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell, while Amazon announces its quarterly results after markets close.
  10. US economic data is heavy. Initial claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before Chicago PMI and new-home sales cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET and 10 a.m. ET. Data is set to conclude at 4 p.m. ET with net long-term TIC flows. The US 10-year yield is down 1.4 basis points at 2.66%

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0 European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

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In recent peer-to-peer (P2P) market action, Latin American Localbitcoins trade has continued to show strength after producing record volume last month. In other news, P2P trade between the euro (EUR) and BTC has posted its strongest volume in 10 months.

Also Read: Wikipedia Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash Donations via Bitpay

European P2P Trade Posts Strongest Activity Since March 2018

EUR/BTC trade on Localbitcoins has recorded its strongest week since posting record trade when measured against fiat currency at the end of March 2018.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

During the week of Jan. 26, approximately 985 BTC were traded for EUR, equating to more than 3.11 million euros (roughly $3.58 million) worth of trade.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

Hungarian P2P trade also spiked during the week of Jan. 19, producing the fifth strongest week on record when measured in Hungarian forint (HUF), with 5.41 million HUF (roughly $19,750) worth of trade taking place.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

The week also comprised the strongest for Hungarian P2P trade since July 2017 when measured in cryptocurrency, with 5 BTC changing hands.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

When measuring in cryptocurrency, the Turkish Localbitcoins markets also recorded the strongest week of trade activity since Nov. 2017 this past week, with 35 BTC worth of trade.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

Latin American Localbitcoins Markets Continue to Show Strength

After producing record volume during Dec. 2018, the Latin American P2P markets have continued to see strong trade activity.

This past week saw the Venezuelan Localbitcoins markets post record volume for the eighth time in the last 10 weeks when measured in fiat currency, with 16 billion Venezuelan bolivar (VES) worth of trade taking place.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

The week also comprised the second strongest on record for Venezuelan trade when measured against cryptocurrency, with 1,806 BTC changing hands.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

 

For Localbitcoins trade between the Colombian peso (COP) and BTC, the weeks of Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 produced the second and third strongest volume on record, with nearly 700 BTC being traded during each seven-day period.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

When measured in fiat currency, the preceding two weeks have comprised the fifth and seventh strongest in the market’s history with more than 7 billion COP worth of BTC trade taking place during both weeks.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

 

Indonesian P2P Trade Spikes

Indonesian Localbitcoins trade also spiked this past week, with the week of Jan. 26 comprising the third strongest in the market’s history when measured against fiat currency with nearly 804 million Indonesian rupiah (IDR) (roughly $57,500) worth of trade.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

When measured against cryptocurrency, this past week posted the strongest trade activity since March 2017, with 17 BTC changing hands.

European and South American Localbitcoins Markets Show Strength

What is your response to the strength of the European, Latin American, and Indonesian Localbitcoins markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin.dance


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0 This month in real estate history

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1908: New Mutual Alliance building brings high finance to the LES The Mutual Alliance Trust Company’s third office building officially opened for business in the Lower East Side 111 years ago this month, the New York Times reported. The  firm’s new outpost reportedly heralded the banking industry’s arrival in a neighborhood known more for its impoverished tenements than wealth management. The six-story building on Grand Street, designed by architect John Hamilton, cost the company $175,000 to […]

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0 There's even more evidence that skipping breakfast might help you lose weight

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healthy breakfast

  • New research has found that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh 1lb less than those who eat a morning meal.
  • The findings contradict claims that forgoing breakfast leads to snacking more later in the day.
  • The researchers say that those who are trying to lose weight should not necessarily eat breakfast if they don't want to.

Many of us grew up being told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, there's now even more evidence that this may not be the case.

In what may be sad news for lovers of eggs, avocado, and oatmeal, a new study has concluded that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh less than those who eat a morning meal.

The research, conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and published in the British Medical Journal, found that skipping breakfast could help people lose weight.

Researchers analysed 13 randomised studies related to breakfast and weight in high income countries.

They found that those who eat breakfast consume significantly more calories overall than those who forgo the morning meal — breakfast-skippers were found to consume 260 fewer calories per day.

Read more: A stockbroker turned personal trainer tells us why breakfast actually isn't the most important meal of the day

The findings fly in the face of the common consensus that skipping breakfast only leads to snacking on calorie-dense, less sustaining snacks later in the day.

Indeed, the NHS claims that: "Research suggests people who eat breakfast are slimmer because they tend to eat less during the day — particularly fewer high-calorie snacks."

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) adds that research shows that "people who eat breakfast have more balanced diets than those who skip it, are less likely to be overweight, (and) lose weight more successfully if overweight."

Breakfast advocates often claim that eating in the morning means they burn more calories over the course of the day, but the new research disproves this theory, too.

healthy breakfast hungry

The analysis found that the basal metabolic rate of breakfast-eaters was no higher than breakfast-skippers.

After comparing all 13 studies, the researchers found that people who skipped breakfast weighed 1lb less than those who ate a morning meal — although weight alone isn't a complete judge of health.

The researchers noted that breakfast has, in fact, been shown to have other benefits such as improving concentration, so further research is needed into the subject.

However, they wrote: "This study suggests that the addition of breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss, regardless of established breakfast habit."

They went on to say that "caution is needed when recommending breakfast for weight loss in adults, as it could have the opposite effect."

"While breakfast has been advocated as the most important meal of the day in the media since 1917, there is a paucity of evidence to support breakfast consumption as a strategy to achieve weight loss."

Read more: Getting too hungry could be stopping you from losing weight, according to a personal trainer

According to The Independent, Dr Frankie Phillips, registered dietician for the British Dietetic Association, told Press Assocation: "Whilst some studies do show that people who eat breakfast tend to be a healthier weight, there is no clear benefit of starting to eat breakfast just as a tool to lose weight. The study shows that simply having breakfast isn't a magic recipe for weight loss for everyone.

"If you do enjoy breakfast, don't stop, but take a look at what you are having."

He added that breakfast "has the potential to be one of the easiest times of the day to eat a balanced meal, and to meet a number of nutrition targets."

"So a simple breakfast of wholegrain cereal and milk with a glass of unsweetened fruit juice and a cup of tea provides protein, fibre, a raft of vitamins and minerals, and plant phytochemicals," he said.

Avocado toast

The new research comes just after Hollywood personal trainer and physical therapist David Higgins told INSIDER he believes breakfast is overrated.

Read more: Margot Robbie's personal trainer thinks breakfast is overrated, and he says there are 2 clear benefits to fasting in the morning

Higgins pointed out that the saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" originated as a marketing campaign for a food company which sold eggs and bacon.

The trainer to stars such as Margot Robbie, Claudia Schiffer, and Colin Firth is an advocate of time-restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting, whereby you limit your window of consumption to, ideally, eight hours.

For some people this means skipping breakfast, but for others it can be eating your final food of the day in the afternoon.

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0 Healthcare payments are a $3 trillion industry — but the lack of urgency to innovate has resulted in confusion, inefficiencies, and security issues

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2017 Healthcare Expenditure

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Relative to many other sectors around the globe, the US healthcare industry has been notoriously slow to embrace new payment systems and processes. 

For example, approximately 77% of healthcare providers still use paper-based patient billing methods, according to an MGMA and Navicure survey. The lack of urgency to innovate has resulted in confusion, inefficiencies, and security issues among stakeholders. 

However, this stagnation is enabling payments firms to capitalize on two key trends to disrupt — and capture a piece of — the $3 trillion healthcare industry:

  • The consumerization of healthcare. Consumers are increasingly being urged to play a more prominent role in managing and paying for their own health. In effect, they've become better informed and more critical of the quality of health services. Considering that the billing process is typically the first and last interaction a patient has with a provider, a negative experience could directly impact a healthcare firm's bottom line — only 15% of patients who reported a less than satisfactory billing experience would recommend the hospital to others, according to Becker's Hospital Review. 
  • The digitization of healthcare. Healthcare legislation, rising costs, and a shift from fee-for-service care to value-based care are incentivizing payers and providers to seek out digital solutions that drive down costs and improve services. 

Now is the time for payments hardware, software, and processing firms to introduce specific solutions that accommodate the shifting landscape. These could include digital payment options, such as online checkouts or point-of-service mobile wallet acceptance, or value-added services that enhance the overall payments and billing experience. However, before payments companies introduce new solutions, they must navigate the highly regulated and complex industry.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how a typical healthcare transaction is structured, identifies the major players in the industry, and pinpoints the most pressing pain points for stakeholders. We then look at the opportunities available to payments companies, and explore specific solutions that could help them attract partners in the space. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Healthcare in the US is a key industry for payments firms — spending increased 3.3% to reach $3.3 trillion in 2016, according to the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Despite the size of the market, very few new opportunities have opened up for payments companies because of the healthcare industry's slow innovation and the complex regulations around entering the space. 
  • However, two key trends — the consumerization of healthcare and the digitization of healthcare — will put some payments companies in a strong position to capture a larger share of the market. 
  • The payments firms that rise to the top of the market will have to offer digital solutions that accommodate the shifting landscape, such as mobile wallet acceptance — 61% of consumers reported having interest in using mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, to make healthcare payments, according to InstaMed. 
  • Payments companies will also have to introduce value-added services that appeal to healthcare providers while differentiating their offerings from competitors, such as easy-to-understand billing, integrated check-ins, and AI-based engagement tools.  

In full, the report:

  • Tracks the growth of US healthcare spending. 
  • Identifies subsets of healthcare payments — specifically, where payments are coming from and where they're going. 
  • Explains the intricacies of a healthcare transaction and pinpoints where there are potential bottlenecks. 
  • Details what some of the leading players in the healthcare payments space are doing to differentiate themselves.
  • Lists some specific solutions that payments companies could turn to in order to attract healthcare partners. 

Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
And more!
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Purchase & download the full report from our research store

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0 NATO chief says China must treat arrested Canadians fairly

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Canadians detained

NATO's chief has called on China to treat detained two Canadian citizens "fairly and with due process."

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0 Inside the HTC’s fight to unionize a small hotel in Gowanus, and what it says about the union’s future

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The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council (HTC) is riding high these days. A few months after securing a City Council vote to restrict Airbnb in the city, New York’s largest hotel union received more good news last month when the Council voted to put a damper on hotel development in light manufacturing zones, where a growing number of the city’s hotels are built. Despite these recent successes, HTC still has an Achilles’ heel […]

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0 Infected Apps in the Google Play Store Turn Android Phones into Porn Hubs

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Security company Trend Micro has discovered another batch of malicious apps published in the Google Play Store and which users have downloaded millions of times.

The malware is hiding in the code of what claim to be beauty camera apps which promise to offer filters and further edits that would help improve your photos.

However, after installing the apps, they hide their icons from the application list to make users can’t disable them and use packers to make it more difficult to be analyzed.

But the truly dangerous behavior comes down to full screen ads that are displayed on compromised devices when they are unlocked. Trend Micro’s analysis reveals that the malicious ads typically point to pornography, and the company also detected a paid online pornography ... (read more) by Facebook Comment
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0 The polar vortex ravaging the US with extreme cold has killed at least 11 people

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polar vortex chicago satellite

  • At least 11 people have died from the extreme weather caused by the polar vortex or accidents related to it.
  • Some were killed by the cold outside of their homes, while others were involved in road accidents.
  • The polar vortex has brought life-threatening cold and conditions that can give people frostbite in as little as five minutes.
  • Authorities are taking extra measures to help the elderly and homeless as wind chill temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded.

At least 11 people have been killed across several states as a polar vortex brings record-breaking low temperatures to the US.

Officials are warning of life-threatening conditions as the weather system stretching from New York to Montana brings temperatures colder than Antarctica and the potential of getting frostbite from spending as little as five minutes outside.

Here is a breakdown of the deaths reported so far:

  • The body of a University of Iowa student was found on campus on Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported. Officials have linked the death to extreme cold.
  • A 70-year-old man who was found dead outside of his home, and may have frozen to death, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Another man was found dead outside in Michigan without a hat or gloves, USA Today reported.
  • An 82-year-old man died after he was found with hypothermia outside of his home in Illinois, NBC News reported.
  • Another man was found frozen in a garage near his home in Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to the same report.
  • A 75-year-old man was died in suburban Chicago on Monday when he was hit by a snow plow, local ABC-affiliate News Channel 20 reported.
  • A man and a woman were killed on Monday when their SUV struck another vehicle on a snow-covered road in Indiana, the AP reported.
  • A 59-year-old man was found dead outside his home in Indiana on Tuesday. The country coroner said it appeared the man fell outside his home, NBC News reported.
  • Another person was killed by extreme windchill in Tazewell County, Illinois, according to emergency officials cited by NBC.
  • A nine-year-old Nebraska boy died on Sunday in Iowa, when the vehicle he was traveling in lost traction on an icy road and went into a ditch, NBC said.
  • A 50-year-old woman was killed on Monday when a semi-trailer rear-ended the car she was in. CNN reported that the state patrol said the roads were icy at the time. 
  • And a 31-year-old man was killed in Iowa on Monday when his car crashed into a telephone pole. Officials said he was driving too fast for the conditions, CNN reported.

chicago frozen lake polar vortex

Warnings as temperatures break records

Twenty million people in the continental US are expected to experience temperatures of minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 28 degrees Celsius) or lower by the end of the week, the BBC reported.

The temperatures are setting records: the all-time lowest temperature in Illinois — minus 37 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 38 degrees Celsius) — was recorded at Aurora, Chicago on Wednesday night.

Read more: A polar vortex is engulfing the US. Here's what that really means, and why these events might be getting more common.

And it feels even colder in many places due when wind chill is taken into account. Wind chill figures are lower than actual temperature, to reflect the way moving air stripes away heat faster than still air.

For example, the actual temperature in DeKalb, Illinois, at midnight on Tuesday was minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 25 degrees Celsius), but the windchill meant it felt like minus 42 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 41 degrees Celsius), according to the National Weather Service.

Wind chill temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50 degrees Celsius) have been recorded this week.

The NWS is also monitoring whether a new record low temperature will be recorded in Chicago.

The NWS and other services have been advising the public on ways to stay safe, including wearing extra layers to prevent frostbite.

Read more: The Midwest is colder than Antarctica thanks to the polar vortex — here's what it looks like

Authorities have warned of the threat the low temperatures pose to life.

homeless man cold snow polar vortex freezing

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday that the vortex had brought "life-threatening conditions and temperatures."

National Weather Service forecaster Jim Hayes warned that the conditions could create "a very dangerous situation."

Read more: A viral photo of Chicago jail inmates shoveling snow in freezing weather is sparking outrage

Illinois governor JB Pritzker said in a statement on Tuesday that "this storm poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of people around the state."

Thousands of flights have been canceled, schools have closed, and post office services have been suspended in light of the conditions.

Cities are looking to protect the vulnerable, such as seniors and the homeless. Charities and government officials opened shelters to capacity and have taken measures like converting buses into warming centers that can move around cities, the AP reported.

Temperatures across the US are expected to start to ease later on Thursday, but some places could still get colder, and set new records.

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0 The people living in Ted Bundy's old house are getting sick of curious murder tourists wanting to look around

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ted_bundy_house_resized skitch

  • Ted Bundy's old house in Utah has been inundated with murder tourists. 
  • The notorious serial killer lived there between 1974 and 1975 while attending the nearby law school.
  • A current tenant told TMZ that the number of people poking around has increased since the Netflix series and film trailer about the notorious serial killer dropped.
  • The tenants are apparently upset about the invasion of their privacy.

The release of the Netflix docu-series "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" and Zac Efron's new film "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" have ramped up interest in the notorious serial killer.

So much so that more visitors than ever are focking to his former house in Salt Lake City, Utah, TMZ reports.

Read more: Netflix has kindly asked its viewers to stop obsessing over the 'hotness' of serial killer Ted Bundy

A tenant of the two-storey boarding home told TMZ that the amount of people wanting to look around the house, which was home to Ted Bundy from 1974-1975 while he attended the nearby law school, has increased since the release of the series and the film trailer.

With five rooms, the tenant said someone currently lives in Bundy's old abode, "Room 2" — though it has now been relabeled as "Room 5."

Some people simply want to take photos of the outside, they said, but others intrude on the tenants' privacy by poking around the grounds to look at the fire escape which he used to come and go in secret.

ted bundy fire escape

Near the house, there is also a utility closet...

ted bundy utility closet

...and a cellar, both of which police apparently searched for evidence before Bundy was executed.

Ted Bundy cellar

Bundy was given the death penalty three times for the murders of three women. Before his execution, he confessed to the murders of 30 women between 1974 and 1978.

But some experts believe Bundy killed over 100 people.

Visitors to the property are beginning to upset some of the residents, they added, and they close their blinds because of the invasion of privacy. While visitors only used to crop up at Halloween, now they appear all the time, they said.

You can go on a full tour of the house in this video by Captain Borax's True Crime Tours And More.

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0 10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, FB, TSLA, MSFT, DB)

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Polar Vortex

Here is what you need to know.

  1. The Fed says it'll be patient on future rate hikesThe Federal Open Market Committee held its key interest rate in a range between 2.25% and 2.5% Wednesday, and in his press conference following the decision, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he didn't know if the next move would be an interest-rate hike or cut.
  2. The Fed told the stock-market exactly what it wanted to hear. Powell said the Fed's balance sheet isn't on "automatic pilot" and it won't shrink much further, sending the S&P 500 to a gain of 1.5%.
  3. Stock markets around the world were higherHong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.08%) led the gains in Asia Thursday and Britain's FTSE (+0.44%) was out front in Europe. The S&P 500 was set to open up 0.15% near 2,685.
  4. Italy has officially entered a recession. Europe's fourth-largest economy contracted 0.2% in the fourth-quarter, after shrinking 0.1% in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the statistics agency Istat.
  5. Facebook soars after crushing earningsFacebook shares climbed 12% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the social-media company delivered top- and bottom-line results that were well above Wall Street estimates.
  6. Elon Musk declares Tesla will be profitable for 'all quarters going forward.' Tesla's CEO made the comments on the electric-car maker's fourth-quarter earnings call, after the company posted just its third-ever quarterly profit.
  7. Microsoft just misses on earningsThe most-valuable company in the world by market cap earned $1.08 a share, missing estimates by a penny, as revenue matched the $32.5 billion than analysts were expecting. Shares were trading down about 2%.
  8. Deutsche Bank is bracing for a potential forced merger by the middle of the year. Executives at the bank are becoming increasingly concerned that a government-brokered merger with Commerzbank may be their only option, Bloomberg says.
  9. Earnings reports keep comingAltria, Ferrari, General Electric, MasterCard, and UPS are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell while Amazon announces its quarterly results after markets close.
  10. US economic data is heavy. Initial claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before Chicago PMI and new home sales cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET and 10 a.m. ET respectively. Data concludes at 4 p.m. ET with net long-term TIC flows. The US 10-year yield is down 1.4 basis points at 2.66%

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0 Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook won't merge the backends of WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram until at least 2020

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facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on an earnings call that the planned integration of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram direct messages won't happen until 2020 at the earliest.
  • He laid particular emphasis on rolling out end-to-end encryption on the new amalgamated service, which is currently a big WhatsApp's selling point.
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and its cofounders left in the past two years reportedly after clashing with Facebook executives over user privacy.

Mark Zuckerberg says that Facebook's plans to merge Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram's messaging service won't see the light of day until 2020 at the earliest.

In Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the plans to stitch together the backend of the three messaging services were still primitive.

"There's a lot more that we need to figure out before we finalize the plans. And then, of course, this is going to be a long-term project that I think will probably be to whatever extent we end up doing it in — a 2020 thing or beyond," he said.

Read more: "This is probably the last time you'll ever talk to me": WhatsApp's cofounder broke his silence about his icy relationship with Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's plans to assimilate the three services was first reported by The New York Times this month. Nick Clegg, Facebook's global policy and communications chief, laid out some of the issues Facebook needs to overcome earlier this week. He told an audience in Brussels:

"We haven't worked out how that will work, whether it's workable, what regulators may or may not think about it before they jump to any conclusions, what you would need to do, how you make that work in the data infrastructure, how much data integration you need between them."

Zuckerberg said he was excited to roll out end-to-end encryption — which is currently a WhatsApp defining feature — across the new, unified service.

"People really like this in WhatsApp. I think it's the — it's the direction that we should be going in with more things in the future. I think there's an opportunity to use the work that we have done with WhatsApp there rather than doing it in different ways in the different messaging experiences," he said.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and its cofounders Brian Acton and Jan Koum left Facebook in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Media reports said Koum and Acton had clashed with Facebook top brass over user privacy.

Instagram's founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger also left the company in September 2018, and reports suggested that clashes arose after Facebook dialled back the autonomy it had once promised Instagram.

SEE ALSO: LEAKED MEMO: Facebook is scrambling to do damage control with 'pissed' employees after Apple blocks its internal apps

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0 Facebook's expenses rocketed by a massive $10 billion, partly because it's costing so much to clean up its platform

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David Wehner.JPG

  • Facebook's costs rose by $10 billion in 2018, partly thanks to its increased spending on keeping fake news, harassment, and fake ads off its platform.
  • That's equivalent to a Slack, which is worth around $7 billion.
  • Facebook spent $31 billion in 2018, up from $20.4 billion in 2017.
  • Other costs including marketing Facebook's smart speaker, the Portal.

The amount Facebook spent in 2018 rose dramatically, partly thanks to the firm's increased efforts to keep fake news, harassment, and fake ads off its platform.

Its expenses for all of 2018 were up 51% from 2017, hitting $31 billion. That's $10 billion higher than in 2017, when its expenses were $20.4 billion.

These feel like abstract, large figures, so to put it into context: Hot workplace chat app Slack is worth around $7 billion. Facebook's costs alone this year rose by the equivalent of a Slack. The costs themselves are equivalent to an Airbnb, which is worth around $31 billion.

In a call with analysts on Wednesday, CFO Dave Wehner and CEO Mark Zuckerberg attributed these rising costs to increased spend on "safety" — essentially the costs of fixing security, privacy and misinformation problems, and putting preventative measures in place.

That's in the wake of multiple crises including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which highlighted how Facebook failed to police third-party developers on its platform; fake political ads; and exacerbating hate speech in Myanmar.

Read more: Facebook's stock soars 12% after beating on top and bottom lines for Q4 2018 earnings

"The reality is that we've had a number of substantive issues that we needed to address, and the investments we made in safety, security, privacy and well-being both increased our costs and, in some cases, reduced our revenues," Zuckerberg said in the call.

"We've changed how we build services to focus more on preventing harm. We've invested billions of dollars in security, which has affected our profitability," he added.

The bulk of the security costs have arisen, it seems, from hiring new staff. Facebook ended the year with substantially more full-time employees, with the number rising 42% to 35,500. Mark Zuckerberg indicated in the call that 30,000 of those new hires were people working on safety and security, though it wasn't clear that all of those 30,000 are full-time staff.

Facebook is a huge business, and not all of its expenditure was about security. The company also spent money in the holiday quarter promoting its smart speaker Portal, and the Oculus Go virtual reality headset. And $10 billion of that $30 billion expenditure was on research and development.

Wehner said costs would rise in 2019 by as much as 50%. He said: "[We] do plan to continue to invest aggressively in the priority areas, including on the innovation side with AR/VR and AI and continuing to invest in the safety and security programs that we're undergoing."

SEE ALSO: 

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0 THE DATA BREACHES REPORT: The strategies companies are using to protect their customers, and themselves, in the age of massive breaches

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dbnew3This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Over the past five years, the world has seen a seemingly unending series of high-profile data breaches, defined as incidents in which unauthorized parties access and retrieve sensitive, secure, or private data.

Major incidents, like the 2013 Yahoo breach, which impacted all 3 million of the tech giant’s customers, and the more recent Equifax breach, which exposed the information of at least 143 million US adults, has kept this risk, and these threats, at the forefront for both businesses and consumers. And businesses have good reason to be concerned — of organizations breached, 22% lost customers, 29% lost revenue, and 23% lost business opportunities.

This threat isn’t going anywhere. Each of the past five years has seen, on average, 1,704 security incidents, impacting nearly 2 billion records. And hackers could be getting more efficient, using new technological tools to extract more data in fewer breach attempts. That’s making the security threat an industry-agnostic for any business holding sensitive data — at this point, virtually all companies — and therefore a necessity for firms to address proactively and prepare to react to.

The majority of breaches come from the outside, when a malicious actor is usually seeking access to records for financial gain, and tend to leverage malware or other software and hardware-related tools to access records. But they can come internally, as well as from accidents perpetrated by employees, like lost or stolen records or devices.

That means that firms need to have a broad-ranging plan in place, focusing on preventing breaches, detecting them quickly, and resolving and responding to them in the best possible way. That involves understanding protectable assets, ensuring compliance, and training employees, but also protecting data, investing in software to understand what normal and abnormal performance looks like, training employees, and building a response plan to mitigate as much damage as possible when the inevitable does occur.

Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the data breach threat, who and what companies need to protect themselves from, and how they can most effectively do so from a technological and organizational perspective.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The breach threat isn’t going anywhere. The number of overall breaches isn’t consistent — it soared from 2013 to 2016, but ticked down slightly last year — but hackers might be becoming better at obtaining more records with less work, which magnifies risk.
  • The majority of breaches come from the outside, and leverage software and hardware attacks, like malware, web app attacks, point-of-service (POS) intrusion, and card skimmers.
  • Firms need to build a strong front door to prevent as many breaches as possible, but they also need to develop institutional knowledge to detect a breach quickly, and plan for how to resolve and respond to it in order to limit damage — both financial and subjective — as effectively as possible.

In full, the report:

  • Explains the scope of the breach threat, by industry and year, and identifies the top attacks.
  • Identifies leading perpetrators and causes of breaches.
  • Addresses strategies to cope with the threat in three key areas: prevention, detection, and resolution and response.
  • Issues recommendations from both a technological and organizational perspective in each of these categories so that companies can avoid the fallout that a data breach can bring.

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This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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