Bytes: What’s new in tech
Fighting fake news with the real thing
“Facebook is trying a new way to combat the scourge of fake news,” said Shona Ghosh in BusinessInsider.com. If users post dubious articles on their timeline, the social network will now show a list of stories from reputable sources on the same subject beneath the original post. Instead of blocking the questionable content outright, Facebook is giving users “more context about what they are reading,” with the list of fact-checked stories appearing under the heading “Related Articles.” The social network has been trying to strike a balance in weeding out false information on the site without resorting to full-on censorship. Earlier this year, Facebook began tagging fake news articles that have been debunked by third-party fact checkers with a “disputed” label.
Hacker hero arrested for malware
The 22-year-old British cybersecurity researcher who was hailed as a hero this spring for helping to stop the global WannaCry ransomware outbreak has himself been arrested on cybercrime charges, said Brian Fung in The Washington Post. U.S. officials have accused Marcus Hutchins of creating and selling a strain of banking malware used to steal victims’ financial data. A federal indictment said that Hutchins and an unnamed associate began offering the malware, known as Kronos, in July 2014, selling it for as much as $7,000. Hutchins rose to fame in May for discovering a hidden kill switch on the WannaCry ransomware, but he has tried to keep a low profile since then. Experts credited Hutchins with stopping the virus, which locked down thousands of computers around the world, from spreading as quickly as it could have.
Bitcoin splits in two
“Imagine logging into your checking account and seeing that you now also have a second account, stocked with an equal amount of a newly created currency,” said Tom Simonite in Wired.com. That’s exactly what happened to many bitcoin users on Aug. 1, after the creation of a breakaway version of the cryptocurrency. The newly created currency, Bitcoin Cash, is starting a copy of the original bitcoin blockchain, the online ledger of all bitcoin transactions. The split comes after a bitter, highly technical two-year feud over the size of the “blocks” of transactions processed on the blockchain. The creators of Bitcoin Cash want to update the blockchain software with bigger blocks to allow for faster transactions, which they hope will increase bitcoin’s popularity. ■