A Chrome feature is creating enormous load on global root DNS servers

The Chromium browser—open source, upstream parent to both Google Chrome and the new Microsoft Edge—is getting some serious negative attention for a well-intentioned feature that checks to see if a user’s ISP is “hijacking” non-existent domain results.
The Intranet Redirect Detector, which makes spurious queries for random “domains” statistically unlikely to exist, is responsible for roughly half of the total traffic the world’s root DNS servers receive. Verisign engineer Matt Thomas wrote a lengthy APNIC blog post outlining the problem and defining its scope.
How DNS resolution normally works
These servers are the final authority which must be consulted to resolve .com, .net, and so forth—and to tell you that ‘frglxrtmpuf’ isn’t a real TLD. (credit: Jim Salter)
DNS, or the Domain Name System, is how computers translate relatively memorable domain names like arstechnica.com into far less memorable IP addresses, like Without DNS, the Internet couldn’t exist in a human-usable form—which means unnecessary load on

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1701017

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New Raspberry Pi 4 model comes with a ton of RAM: 8GB

The Raspberry Pi 4. [credit:
Raspberry Pi

Hot off the launch of an interchangeable camera system earlier this month, Raspberry Pi is introducing a new configuration of the Pi4: a model with a whopping 8GB of RAM. The new, highest-end config for the Pi 4 will run you $75.
The 8GB version of the Raspberry Pi 4 has been long rumored, thanks to Raspberry Pi itself leaking the existence of an 8GB model. The blog post reveals that an 8GB model was always a possibility and says, “We were so enthusiastic about the idea that the non-existent product made its way into both the Beginner’s Guide and the compliance leaflet.”
The Raspberry Pi 4 launched last year with a faster SoC, more RAM, dual micro-HDMI, USB 3.0 support, and a USB-C charging port. In addition to the usual server and hobbyist uses, Raspberry

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1679416

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WireGuard VPN makes it to 1.0.0—and into the next Linux kernel

Enlarge / WireGuard will be in tree for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (pictured), as well as the upcoming 5.6 kernel. (credit: WireGuard)
We’ve been anticipating WireGuard’s inclusion into the mainline Linux kernel for quite some time—but as of Sunday afternoon, it’s official. Linus Torvalds released the Linux 5.6 kernel, which includes (among other things) an in-tree WireGuard. Phoronix has a great short list of the most interesting new features in the 5.6 kernel, as well as a longer “everything list” for those who want to make sure they don’t miss anything.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about WireGuard, the TL;DR is that it’s a relatively new VPN (Virtual Private Network) application that offers a leaner codebase, easier configuration, faster connect times, and the latest and most thoroughly peer-reviewed and approved encryption algorithms. You can find a more detailed introduction in our initial August 2018 coverage.
Can I use this on Windows? Mac? BSD?

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1664228

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The exFAT filesystem is coming to Linux—Paragon software’s not happy about it

Enlarge / Proprietary filesystem vendor Paragon Software seems to feel threatened by the pending inclusion of a Microsoft-sanctioned exFAT in the Linux 5.7 kernel. (credit: MTV / Geffen / Paramount Pictures)
When software and operating system giant Microsoft announced its support for inclusion of the exFAT filesystem directly into the Linux kernel back in August, it didn’t get a ton of press coverage. But filesystem vendor Paragon Software clearly noticed this month’s merge of the Microsoft-approved, largely Samsung-authored version of exFAT into the VFS for-next repository, which will in turn merge into Linux 5.7—and Paragon doesn’t seem happy about it.
Yesterday, Paragon issued a press release about European gateway-modem vendor Sagemcom adopting its version of exFAT into an upcoming series of Linux-based routers. Unfortunately, it chose to preface the announcement with a stream of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Steve Ballmer’s letterhead in the 1990s.

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1663118

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Google cracks down on location-tracking Android apps

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)
Alongside the launch of the Android 11 Developer Preview, Google announced a plan to crack down on Android apps that request the user’s location in the background. Just as we saw with Google’s pushback against apps that use the accessibility APIs for things that aren’t accessibility related, Google will be flexing the power it has over the Play Store and manually reviewing apps that request location data in the background.
Writing about the new policy, Google says, “As we took a closer look at background location usage, we found that many of the apps that requested background location didn’t actually need it. In fact, many of these apps could provide the same user experience by only accessing location when the app is visible to the user.” The company says that apps on the Play Store will soon be evaluated by humans to see if the apps actually need

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1655493

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Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS released Wednesday—here’s what’s new

Enlarge / Wherever possible, we recommend most users stick to LTS releases. Today’s 18.04.4 update makes that possible for newer hardware, like HP’s Dragonfly Elite G1. (credit: Jim Salter)
This Wednesday, the current Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Service) release—Bionic Beaver—launched its fourth maintenance update.
Ubuntu is one of the most predictable operating system distributions in terms of its release cycle—a new version is launched in April and October of each year. Most of these are interim releases, supported for a single year from launch; but the April release of each even-numbered year is an LTS, supported for five years. LTS releases also get maintenance releases as necessary, typically about every three to six months during the support cycle of the LTS.
Today’s release, 18.04.4, is one of those maintenance releases. It’s not as shiny and exciting as entirely new versions, of course, but it does pack in some worthwhile security and bugfix

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1653382

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Browser review: Microsoft’s new “Edgium” Chromium-based Edge

This is the first thing you see when you fire up the installer for the new Edge browser. [credit:
Jim Salter ]

Before much longer, every new Windows PC is going to have a new default browser: it will still be named Microsoft Edge, but it’s a completely different browser than the old version. Cue the jokes now about “the new browser everyone uses to download Chrome”—but we’re not sure that so many people will actually bother downloading Chrome anymore.
The old Microsoft Edge was a completely in-house Microsoft design, proprietary from the ground up. It wasn’t necessarily a bad browser, but it never really took off—by the time Edge became a thing, most of the people who cared about their browsers were so sick and tired of Internet Explorer they’d long since moved on to either Firefox or Chrome; and the people

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1650098

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Linus Torvalds pulled WireGuard VPN into the 5.6 kernel source tree

Enlarge / It’s not likely to be an accident that “add WireGuard” is number one on this list. (credit: Jim Salter)
Yesterday, Linux creator Linus Torvalds merged David Miller’s net-next into his source tree for the Linux 5.6 kernel. This merger added plenty of new network-related drivers and features to the upcoming 5.6 kernel, with No.1 on the list being simply “Add WireGuard.”
As previously reported, WireGuard was pulled into net-next in December—so its inclusion into Linus’ 5.6 source tree isn’t exactly a surprise. It does represent clearing another potential hurdle for the project; there is undoubtedly more refinement work to be done before the kernel is finalized, but with Linus having pulled it in-tree, the likelihood that it will disappear between now and 5.6’s final release (expected sometime in May or early June) is vanishingly small.
WireGuard’s Jason Donenfeld is also contributing AVX crypto optimizations to the kernel outside the WireGuard

Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1649704

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