technology, streaming devices, Android, malware, organized crime
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Thousands of Android Devices Come With Unkillable Backdoor Installed (Maria)

The author writes, “When you buy a TV streaming box, there are certain things you wouldn’t expect it to do. It shouldn’t secretly be laced with malware or start communicating with servers in China when it’s powered up. It definitely should not be acting as a node in an organized crime scheme making millions of dollars through fraud. However, that’s been the reality for thousands of unknowing people who own cheap Android TV devices. … Human Security researchers found seven Android TV boxes and one tablet with the backdoors installed, and they’ve seen signs of 200 different models of Android devices that may be impacted, according to a report shared exclusively with WIRED. The devices are in homes, businesses, and schools across the U.S.”

Egypt Intelligence Official Says Israel Ignored Repeated Warnings of ‘Something Big’ (Sean)

The author writes, “Mounting questions over Israel’s massive intelligence failure to anticipate and prepare for a surprise Hamas assault were compounded Monday when an Egyptian intelligence official said that Jerusalem had ignored repeated warnings that the Gaza-based terror group was planning ‘something big’ — which included an apparent direct notice from Cairo’s intelligence minister to the prime minister. The Egyptian official said Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, had spoken repeatedly with the Israelis about ‘something big,’ without elaborating.”

‘Red Caesarism’ Is Right-Wing Code — And Some Republicans Are Listening (Dana)

From The Guardian: “For the last three years, parts of the American right have advocated a theory called Caesarism as an authoritarian solution to the claimed collapse of the US republic in conference rooms, podcasts and the house organs of the extreme right, especially those associated with the Claremont Institute think tank. Though on the surface this discussion might seem esoteric, experts who track extremism in the US say that due to their influence on the Republican party, the right-wing intellectuals who espouse these ideas about the attractions of autocracy present a profound threat to American democracy.”

How Red-State Politics Are Shaving Years Off American Lives (Gerry)

The author writes, “Americans are more likely to die before age 65 than residents of similar nations, despite living in a country that spends substantially more per person on health care than its peers. Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations, among other policies. … States’ politics — and their resulting policies — are shaving years off American lives.”

Fact Checkers Take Stock of Their Efforts: ‘It’s Not Getting Better’ (Russ)

From The New York Times: “With a wave of elections expected next year in dozens of countries, the global fact-checking community is taking stock of its efforts over a few intense years — and many don’t love what they see.”

Cars Are a Major Predator for Wildlife. How Is Nature Adapting to Our Roads? (Laura)

The author writes, “Through evolution, animals have developed an array of defenses to help protect against predators. Porcupines use quills to fend off attackers; turtles hide under protective shells; skunks spray their enemies. But what happens when the ‘predator’ is an automobile? … In his new book, Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet, [Ben] Goldfarb explains how roads and cars are changing the lives of wildlife all over the world — and how roadkill has created a ‘crisis for biodiversity.’”

This Old Nordic Philosophy Makes for Happier Workers (Reader Jim)

From Fast Company: “Northern Europe’s Nordic region has long dominated the upper rankings of the World Happiness Report. This year, once again, three of its five primary countries — Finland, Denmark and Iceland — took the top three slots, with the other two — Sweden and Norway — following close behind in seventh and eighth. … Beyond cold weather, strong social safety nets, and long winters, there’s a specific cultural element that ties these countries together — one which may help explain why the happiest places on earth look at their careers through a different lens. It’s called ‘Janteloven’ in Danish, or the ‘Law of Jante,’ and it refers to ten rules that enforce a strong sense of humility, mutual respect, and empathy.”


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