This 3D Printed House Goes Up in a Day for Under $10,000

There aren’t a ton of ways to build a house other than the way houses have always been built, which is to say, by putting up four walls then adding a roof. This ages-old technique had to be modernized at some point, though, and as with everything else in our lives these days, technology’s delivering that modernization. In this case, instead of being built the old-fashioned way, houses can now be printed.

Last week at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, construction technologies startup ICON and housing nonprofit New Story unveiled their version of a 3D printed house. The model is 650 square feet and consists of a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and shaded porch. It went from zero to finished in under 24 hours, and it cost less than $10,000. Equivalent homes built in developing countries will cost a mere $4,000 each.

This isn’t the first 3D printed house to spring up (or, rather, to be plopped down); there are similar structures created with similar technology in Russia, Dubai, Amsterdam, and elsewhere, but this is the first permitted 3D printed home to go up in the US.

ICON’s crane-like printer is called the Vulcan, and it pours a concrete mix into a software-dictated pattern; instead of one wall going up at a time, one layer is put down at a time, the whole structure “growing” from the ground up. The printer consists of an axis set on a track, giving it a flexible and theoretically unlimited print area.

“With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability,” said Jason Ballard, ICON’s co-founder. “This isn’t 10 percent better, it’s 10 times better.”

The house has a greater purpose than just wowing techies, though. ICON and New Story’s vision is one of 3D printed houses acting as a safe, affordable housing alternative for people in need. New Story has already built over 800 homes in Haiti, El Salvador, Bolivia, and Mexico, partnering with the communities they serve to hire local labor and purchase local materials rather than shipping everything in from abroad.

New Story is in the process of raising $600,000 to fund a planned 100-home community in El Salvador. It will be the first-ever community of 3D printed homes. Printing will begin later this year, and the goal is for families to be moving in by Q3 of 2019. Donors can fund a full house with just $4,000.

Six hundred and fifty square feet may not sound like much space for more than one to two people, but it’s a huge step up from the lean-tos and shacks that make up the slums where millions of people live. ICON and New Story hope the Salvadorian community will serve as a scalable model that can be exported to developing countries around the world, providing a high-quality housing option for the millions who currently lack  one.

Image Credit: Adam Brophy

“Instead of waiting for profit motivation to bring construction advances to the global south, we are fast-tracking innovations like 3D home printing that can be a powerful tool toward ending homelessness,” said Alexandria Lafci, COO of New Story.

The homes are built to the International Building Code structural standard and are expected to last as long or longer than standard concrete masonry unit homes.

While 3D printed houses are a great alternative to the flimsy lean-tos millions of people call home, there are some limitations to consider in terms of them being a solution to global housing shortages.

The biggest need for affordable, safe housing in the developing world is in or near big cities; take the slums of Cape Town, Nairobi, or Mumbai as an example. Replacing families’ current homes in these locations with printed houses may prove difficult simply due to space constraints; 3D printed communities are far more practical in rural areas where there’s less population density, and may not be a truly scalable solution in urban areas until the communities get vertical. 3D printed high-rises are already in the works, though not yet for the purpose of affordable housing.

If skyscrapers can be printed and used as offices, it’s only a matter of time before they can be used for housing as well. And in the meantime, $4,000 a pop for a safe, cozy home where there was no home before is a solid step in the right direction.

World’s Most Popular Porn Site May Have Infected Millions With Virus

If you’ve visited the popular porn site PornHub recently, you may want to have your computer tested for viruses.

A recent report put out by Cybsersecurity firm Proofpoint announced that it had uncovered a malicious program lurking in Pornhub’s advertising network. According to ProofPoint researchers, the virus, called Kovter, had been routinely attacking visitors for over a year.

Here’s how users were infected by the virus: after visiting the site, a new tab would sometimes pop up saying there was a “critical update” for the web browser the visitor was using. If the user clicked the update button, the virus would be downloaded to their computer, where it would then the track users’ personal information and browsing habits.

Fortunately, in this case the malware mostly just took over the user’s computer and used it to click on ads and generate money. But ProofPoint researchers say it could have been much much worse.

“While the payload in this case is ad fraud malware, it could just as easily have been ransomware, an information stealer, or any other malware,” Proofpoint said in the report. “Regardless, threat actors are following the money and looking to more effective combinations of social engineering, targeting and pre-filtering to infect new victims at scale.”

Learn How To Protect Your Computer From Malware

The Federal Trade Commission offers advice on how to protect computers from Malware. Malware is short for “malicious software” and includes viruses and spyware installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. To learn more, Click Here.

Equifax Disables Website Amid Reports Of Second Hacking Attack

Equifax announced on Thursday that it has disabled one of its customer support websites as its security team looks into reports of another cyber breach. The announcement comes after the credit reporting company recently disclosed a hack that compromised the sensitive information of more than 145 million people.

“We are aware of the situation identified on the website in the credit report assistance link,” Equifax spokesman Wyatt Jefferies said in an email. “Our IT and security teams are looking into this matter, and out of an abundance of caution have temporarily taken this page offline.”

Facing increasing criticism from consumers, regulators, and lawmakers over its handling of the earlier breach, the company says that it will provide more information as it becomes available.

A notice on the company’s homepage says “No Equifax Subscription Products for Purchase at this Time. Due to the cybersecurity incident, we are offering all U.S. consumers identity theft protection and credit file monitoring through TrustedID Premier. No other subscription products are available for purchase at this time.”

The page in question is the Equifax’s response to the Free Credit Reporting Act and is used by consumers who believe they may be the victim of identity theft or have recently received an adverse credit decision. The page currently says: “We’re sorry… The website is currently down for maintenance. We are working diligently to better serve you, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We appreciate your patience during this time and ask that you check back with us soon.”

Randy Abrams, the independent analyst who noticed the possible hack, said he was attempting to check some information in his credit report late on Wednesday when one of the bogus pop-up ads appeared on Equifax’s website.

In an interview with Reuters, Abrams said his first reaction was disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he recalled thinking. Then he successfully replicated the problem at least five times, making a video that he posted to YouTube.

The breach has prompted investigations by multiple federal and state agencies, including a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice, and has led to the departure of the company’s chief executive officer, chief information officer, and chief security officer.

It has also left the company’s stock in free fall with shares down 23.59 percent, or $33.67, since it’s first announcement on September 7th.

Kim Jong Un Facebook Page, Real or Not, is Epic Trolling

Tonight, as a friend and I laughed (to keep from crying) about the atrocities we face as Americans in the coming Trump years, my friend introduced me to Kim Jong Un’s Facebook page. I have to say, it is hilarious. The trolling is strong with this one, so I would like to share with you a few of the highlights because- let’s face it, we ALL deserve a laugh after the weekend we have lived through.

provided by facebook

From Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to the Devil himself, it seems no one is safe from the trolling prowess of The Great Leader, as he prefers to be called. His photos of the inauguration crowds had me in stitches, and his trademark #thank which follows most of his posts only make the hilarity all the more delightful. Everyone from liberals to conservatives has proven to be fair game for the Great Dictator’s page.

provided by Kim Jong Un Facebook page #thank

Some of the content is borderline offensive, while some posts are clearly poking fun at the 45th President of the United States. In other posts, he states that if we as Americans are offended by flag burning, we should simply move to a country where flag appreciation is mandatory. As well, he posted a meme asking followers to react accordingly as to which country has the best parades, showing North Korea with an army marching and what seems to be a Gender Queer gathering of men in pink outfits at a U.S. Gay Pride Parade. In the comments for that post, he shows that he banned those who did not side with the North Korea parades.

Now at 192,075 likes, the Facebook page includes a video of President Kimberly celebrating his 25,000th like on Facebook. You can view that video below. However, it also includes a Twitter handle of @PyongyangPimp that, upon inspection, will quickly prove the invalidity of this profile– maybe. However, that does not make it any less awe-inspiring and a call-to-action for any would be social media trollers to step up their game.

Although I searched, I was unable to find the real Kim Jong Un Facebook page or Twitter account, which is probably a good thing. However, I did find one Twitter account that does appear real, yet is filled with jokes. I will leave it up to our readers to decide if this one is valid.

Facebook Doesn’t Tell Users Everything it Really Knows About Them

Facebook has long let users see all sorts of things the site knows about them, like whether they enjoy soccer, have recently moved, or like Melania Trump.

But the tech giant gives users little indication that it buys far more sensitive data about them, including their income, the types of restaurants they frequent and even how many credit cards are in their wallets.

Since September, ProPublica has been encouraging Facebook users to share the categories of interest that the site has assigned to them. Users showed us everything from “Pretending to Text in Awkward Situations” to “Breastfeeding in Public.” In total, we collected more than 52,000 unique attributes that Facebook has used to classify users.

Facebook’s site says it gets information about its users “from a few different sources.”

What the page doesn’t say is that those sources include detailed dossiers obtained from commercial data brokers about users’ offline lives. Nor does Facebook show users any of the often remarkably detailed information it gets from those brokers.

“They are not being honest,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer, and an individual should have access to that bundle as well.”

When asked this week about the lack of disclosure, Facebook responded that it doesn’t tell users about the third-party data because it’s widely available and was not collected by Facebook.

“Our approach to controls for third-party categories is somewhat different than our approach for Facebook-specific categories,” said Steve Satterfield, a Facebook manager of privacy and public policy. “This is because the data providers we work with generally make their categories available across many different ad platforms, not just on Facebook.”

Satterfield said users who don’t want that information to be available to Facebook should contact the data brokers directly. He said users can visit a page in Facebook’s help center, which provides links to the opt-outs for six data brokers that sell personal data to Facebook.

Limiting commercial data brokers’ distribution of your personal information is no simple matter. For instance, opting out of Oracle’s Datalogix, which provides about 350 types of data to Facebook according to our analysis, requires “sending a written request, along with a copy of government-issued identification” in postal mail to Oracle’s chief privacy officer.

Users can ask data brokers to show them the information stored about them. But that can also be complicated. One Facebook broker, Acxiom, requires people to send the last four digits of their social security number to obtain their data. Facebook changes its providers from time to time so members would have to regularly visit the help center page to protect their privacy.

One of us actually tried to do what Facebook suggests. While writing a book about privacy in 2013, reporter Julia Angwin tried to opt out from as many data brokers as she could. Of the 92 brokers she identified that accepted opt-outs, 65 of them required her to submit a form of identification such as a driver’s license. In the end, she could not remove her data from the majority of providers.

ProPublica’s experiment to gather Facebook’s ad categories from readers was part of our Black Box series, which explores the power of algorithms in our lives. Facebook uses algorithms not only to determine the news and advertisements that it displays to users, but also to categorize its users in tens of thousands of micro-targetable groups.

Our crowd-sourced data showed us that Facebook’s categories range from innocuous groupings of people who like southern food to sensitive categories such as “Ethnic Affinity” which categorizes people based on their affinity for African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic groups. Advertisers can target ads toward a group — or exclude ads from being shown to a particular group.

Last month, after ProPublica bought a Facebook ad in its housing categories that excluded African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, the company said it would build an automated system to help it spot ads that illegally discriminate.

Facebook has been working with data brokers since 2012 when it signed a deal with Datalogix. This prompted Chester, the privacy advocate at the Center for Digital Democracy, to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Facebook had violated a consent decree with the agency on privacy issues. The FTC has never publicly responded to that complaint and Facebook subsequently signed deals with five other data brokers.

To find out exactly what type of data Facebook buys from brokers, we downloaded a list of 29,000 categories that the site provides to ad buyers. Nearly 600 of the categories were described as being provided by third-party data brokers. (Most categories were described as being generated by clicking pages or ads on Facebook.)

The categories from commercial data brokers were largely financial, such as “total liquid investible assets $1-$24,999,” “People in households that have an estimated household income of between $100K and $125K, or even “Individuals that are frequent transactor at lower cost department or dollar stores.”

We compared the data broker categories with the crowd-sourced list of what Facebook tells users about themselves. We found none of the data broker information on any of the tens of the thousands of “interests” that Facebook showed users.

Our tool also allowed users to react to the categories they were placed in as being “wrong,” “creepy” or “spot on.” The category that received the most votes for “wrong” was “Farmville slots.” The category that got the most votes for “creepy” was “Away from family.” And the category that was rated most “spot on” was “NPR.”

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.

The change is enabled by default for new Google accounts. Existing users were prompted to opt-in to the change this summer.

The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on the keywords they used in their Gmail. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.

The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.

“The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand,” said Paul Ohm, faculty director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law.

“It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” he said. “That wall has just fallen.”

Google spokeswoman Andrea Faville emailed a statement describing Google’s change in privacy policy as an update to adjust to the “smartphone revolution”

“We updated our ads system, and the associated user controls, to match the way people use Google today: across many different devices,” Faville wrote. She added that the change “is 100% optional–if users do not opt-in to these changes, their Google experience will remain unchanged.” (Read Google’s entire statement.)

Existing Google users were prompted to opt-into the new tracking this summer through a request with titles such as “Some new features for your Google account.”

The “new features” received little scrutiny at the time. Wired wrote that it “gives you more granular control over how ads work across devices.” In a personal tech column, the New York Times also described the change as “new controls for the types of advertisements you see around the web.”

Connecting web browsing habits to personally identifiable information has long been controversial.

Privacy advocates raised a ruckus in 1999 when DoubleClick purchased a data broker that assembled people’s names, addresses and offline interests. The merger could have allowed DoubleClick to combine its web browsing information with people’s names. After an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, DoubleClick sold the broker at a loss.

In response to the controversy, the nascent online advertising industry formed the Network Advertising Initiative in 2000 to establish ethical codes. The industry promised to provide consumers with notice when their data was being collected, and options to opt out.

Most online ad tracking remained essentially anonymous for some time after that. When Google bought DoubleClick in 2007, for instance, the company’s privacy policy stated: “DoubleClick’s ad-serving technology will be targeted based only on the non-personally-identifiable information.”

In 2012, Google changed its privacy policy to allow it to share data about users between different Google services – such as Gmail and search. But it kept data from DoubleClick – whose tracking technology is enabled on half of the top 1 million websites – separate.

But the era of social networking has ushered in a new wave of identifiable tracking, in which services such as Facebook and Twitter have been able to track logged-in users when they shared an item from another website.

Two years ago, Facebook announced that it would track its users by name across the Internet when they visit websites containing Facebook buttons such as “Share” and “Like” – even when users don’t click on the button. (Here’s how you can opt out of the targeted ads generated by that tracking).

Offline data brokers also started to merge their mailing lists with online shoppers. “The marriage of online and offline is the ad targeting of the last 10 years on steroids,” said Scott Howe, chief executive of broker firm Acxiom.

To opt-out of Google’s identified tracking, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.” You can also delete past activity from your account.

Cyberattack Takes Down Dozens of Websites on Friday

Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify, Shopify, and other websites have been inaccessible to many users for most of the morning due to a major cyberattack. Box, Boston Globe, New York Times, Github, Airbnb, Reddit, Freshbooks, Heroku and Vox Media properties are among other sites experiencing issues after the attack. The outages are the result of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) on the DNS provider Dyn.

Dyn offers Domain Name System (DNS) services, essentially acting as an address book for the Internet. DNS is a system that resolves the web addresses we see every day into the IP addresses needed to find and connect with the right servers so browsers can deliver requested content, like the story you’re reading right now. A DDoS attack overwhelms a DNS server with lookup requests, rendering it incapable of completing any. That’s what makes attacking DNS so effective; rather than targeting individual sites, an attacker can take out the entire Internet for any end user whose DNS requests route through a given server.

Map of areas affected by cyberattack

According to this map provided by DownDectector, the attack is primarily impacting U.S. users, although users in Europe and Asia may experience problems as well.

The attack on Dyn is believed to have started early this morning. Service was temporarily restored, but a second attack knocked sites offline once again. The DNS provider says engineers are working on the issue.

The White House press secretary tweeted that the Department of Homeland Security is investigating the attacks.

Security researcher Bruce Schneier reported in September that several internet infrastructure companies had been targeted with DDoS attacks, although they had not caused the kind of widespread outages experienced today. Shneier wrote that the attacks seemed designed specifically to test the defensive capabilities of companies that provide critical Internet service.

It still isn’t clear where that cyber attack originated or when or how it was likely to stop. It seems as though Americans may have to venture outside until Netflix is back up and running.

This New App Helps You Safely Meet New People

Klique, a first-of-its-kind app that helps users meet new people with their friends by their side, has launched nationally just in time for back-to-school season at college campuses across the country. Klique app is a fun and safer way for groups of friends to expand their social circle together and connect with new people.

With the national launch of the app, Klique has partnered with It’s On Us, an organization focused on educating, engaging, and empowering students to become leaders in the movement to end sexual assault. It’s On Us works to increase bystander intervention and consent education in order to help improve safety on college campuses. The app encourages users to go out with friends, leaving with their klique and always coming back with their klique.

Recent campus incidents have made safety and prevention a substantial priority for colleges across the country. Joining the charge, Klique is partnering with It’s On Us to serve as their mobile platform for safe social networking. Klique will play a vital role in the organization’s back-to-school initiatives, leading the charge to encourage bystander intervention and promote group safety.

It’s On Us gained national recognition after Lady Gaga’s dedication and pledge for support during her 2016 Oscar performance. After witnessing the impact of the performance, Klique founder and CEO Matt Crown made it his mission to get involved. He says, “We are proud to take a stand with It’s On Us to pledge and encourage our users to step in and stop situations from occurring through bystander intervention. Klique app is all about creating a safe way to make friends in a group setting.  The app creates safety in numbers and emphasizes the idea that if you go out with your klique, you come back with your klique. It’s about looking out for each other, while still enjoying the experience of meeting new people, which is part of what college is all about.”

Through campus-wide efforts, Klique will work with It’s On Us to engage students across the country to begin and maintain discussions about consent and bystander intervention, as well as work to create an environment to support survivors. Events will be intertwined into orientation education programs, with the ultimate goal of evolving consent and bystander intervention education into a set standard for students nationwide.

In addition to being involved in campus programs and serving as a mobile app vehicle for the organization, Klique has made a fiscal pledge of donating $2 to It’s On Us for every Klique group created on the app within the first 30 days of the national launch through their “Klique for a Cause” initiative. Additionally, a call to action to take the It’s On Us pledge will be at the forefront of all Klique social platforms and events to raise awareness.

Rebecca Kaplan, Director of It’s On Us, looks forward to the Klique collaboration and says, “It’s On Us is excited to partner with Klique as they expand to hundreds of campuses and cities nationwide. We’re grateful that Klique is using their platform to spark conversations about bystander intervention and a culture of consent.”

The Klique App

Klique app lets you and your friends meet new people and make new friends together, all in a fun and non-awkward (non-dating) setting. Klique is based on a ‘match and meet new people’ concept, so you have the advantage of swiping through local, nearby kliques to chat or hang out with before meeting people in person. Klique is now available for iOS and Android. Here’s how it works:

Step 1- Two-Second Sign Up: There is no lengthy signup process, no profiles or questionnaires to fill out. You just use your Facebook to verify your name, age, photo and gender.

Step 2- Create Your Group of Friends: Invite your friends to join a klique of two to five people.

Step 3- Let the Swiping Begin: Once a friend accepts, everyone in that group will see other groups in the same area. It’s that simple: Match-Meet-Klique. Group members can then swipe right if they are interested in connecting and left if not. If one person from each group swipes right, it’s a match and a push notification is sent to all group members instantly.

Step 4- Start the Chat, Then Meet: After the groups make a connection, a group chat comes up where they can say hi, chat and text each other, share their mutual interests or set up a meet up of both groups. And always remember to go out with your klique and come back with your klique.