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Consumer Daily Reports

Trusted reliable news sources from around the web. We offer special news reports, topic news videos, and related content stories. Truly a birds eye view on news.

Consumer News: The Weekly Hack: Hackers break into Mercedes Benz rental app, steal 100 cars

PhotoHackers are continuing to find novel ways to steal cars, but it may be a comfort to learn that the victim in the latest case is a car rental service, not a heartbroken individual consumer.

A CBS reporter in Chicago reports that as many as 100 Mercedes Benz cars or other high-end cars have been reported missing after the rental app Car2Go was hacked.

Car2Go, also known as Share Now, is a mobile app that lets people rent Mercedes Benz and other luxury cars with their cell phone. A spokesman for the company downplayed reports of the Chicago theft, instead only telling a reporter that 100 cars had been “compromised.”

"This is an instance of fraud, isolated to Chicago, and we are currently working with law enforcement,” a Car2Go spokesman told Mashable. “None of our member’s personal or confidential information has been compromised.”

Federal agents

Hackers have broken into websites associated with the FBI National Academy Association (FBINAA), a training program for law enforcement, and compromised the personal information of approximately 4,000 federal agents across the United States.

The information includes job titles, phone numbers, and postal addresses of federal agents.

Techhrunch got ahold of the hacker, who claimed to have data on “over a million” federal employees. The hacker is trying to sell the information on the Dark Web. The FBI academy said it is looking into the matter.

“We believe we have identified the three affected Chapters that have been hacked and they are currently working on checking the breach with their data security authorities,” FBINAA said in press statement.

Internet Explorer

A security researcher is advising people to remove Internet Explorer from their computers after finding a vulnerability that allows hackers to steal users’ files and data even if they do not use the browser.

Researcher John Page told Microsoft about the flaw last month, but the company said that concerns were overblown and refused to issue a patch to fix the problem.

“We determined that a fix for this issue will be considered in a future version of this product or service," Page says he was told by Microsoft.

Read more ...

Consumer News: Investors sue Lyft following slide in IPO value

PhotoOn a day when Lyft is blogging about “butt math,” the company should probably be paying attention to the math it used in pitching its initial price offering (IPO), which has resulted in two new lawsuits.

Bloomberg News reports that Lyft investors have sued the company claiming that its IPO was overhyped, which caused the stock to tumble from a high of $88.60 on March 29 down to $58.36 at noon on Friday.

The lawsuits -- both class action suits, but filed separately -- contend that Lyft over-promised in its prospectus, saying that it had 39 percent of the American market.

In all fairness, Lyft is making some headway -- just not as much as it ballyhoo’ed. According to February 2018 metrics from transaction data science firm Second Measure, Lyft is growing faster than Uber. However, the company’s 30.4 percent share of the domestic ridesharing market is less than half of Uber’s 67.3 percent, and it’s nearly 10 points shy of what the company claimed in its prospectus.

The lawsuits also laid blame on Lyft for failing to give investors the heads-up ahead of its recent electric bike recall.

How will this affect Uber’s forthcoming IPO?

Lyft’s prospectus and subsequent lawsuits might be getting as much scrutiny at Uber’s headquarters as Congress is giving the Mueller report.

Uber sees Lyft quickly approaching in its rearview mirror, noting that “our competitors raised additional capital, increased their investments in certain markets, and improved their category positions and market shares, and may continue to do so” in comments made in its prospectus to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

After this legal dust-up with Lyft’s IPO, investors might be slower on the trigger when it comes to buying Uber stock when it goes public.

“Uber’s reign over the rideshare market has not been short on struggle -- or controversy,” wrote Second Measure’s Kathryn Gessner. “The company has long faced public scrutiny over how fares are determined and how drivers are treated.”

“A new CEO and 2018 brand overhaul have helped Uber clean up its image, but the core challenges of its business remain. Squeezing money from rideshare is expected to get harder, as major cities -- like New York -- have moved forward with proposals to add surcharges to fares and cap the services’ allotment of active vehicles.”

Read more ...

Consumer News: The best time to exercise may depend on your body’s internal clock

PhotoFor many consumers, finding the time to hit the gym or go for a run can be difficult to fit into an already tight schedule. However, a new study may have some people rearranging their schedules to see optimal results.

Researchers recently conducted a study and found that our circadian clocks could affect the way our bodies respond to exercise, meaning some times of day might be better to work out than others.

“It’s quite well known that almost every aspect of our physiology and metabolism is dictated by the circadian clock,” said researcher Gad Asher. “This is true not only in humans but in every organism that is sensitive to light. We decided to ask whether there is a connection between the time of day and exercise performance.”

What’s the best time

To see how our internal rhythms affect our response to exercise, two groups of researchers ran experiments with mice, having them run on treadmills at different times of day according to their active and resting phases.

“Circadian rhythms dominate everything we do,” said researcher Paolo Sasone-Corsi. “Previous studies from our lab have suggested that at least 50 percent of our metabolism is circadian, and 50 percent of the metabolites in our body oscillate based on the circadian cycle. It makes sense that exercise would be one of the things that’s impacted.”

The level of intensity in the exercise regimen varied over the course of the first study. The researchers also studied the mice’s DNA to see if genetic makeup influenced the outcome of the study.

Based on the mice’s exercise performance, the researchers determined that the hours near the tail end of the active phase -- which would translate to human nighttime -- were optimal in getting the most out of the workout. The DNA test yielded similar results, as the researchers found that there were higher levels of a metabolite known as ZMP, which works to regulate the metabolism, when the mice exercised later.

The second trial also had mice running on treadmills, but it looked solely at DNA testing for possible explanations and found that muscle tissue responds differently when the mice exercised at different times of the day.

The last component of the test was to include human participants. The researchers had 12 people complete similar exercise tests and found that their bodies were performing at peak levels during nighttime workouts compared with morning exercise sessions.

Despite these promising findings, the researchers warn that there is more here than meets the eye.

“You may be a morning person, or you may be a night person, and those things have to be taken into account,” said Sassone-Corsi.

Putting in the time

Many recent reports have detailed how crucial exercise is, particularly for long life.

While time can restrict many consumers, researchers have found how even small increments of time, like short intervals of stair climbing, or how the body can feel the effects of one workout days later, can be beneficial.

Additionally, researchers have busted the myth that exercising at night interrupts sleep.

“People can do exercise in the evening without hesitation,” said researcher Jan Stutz. “The data shows that moderate exercise in the evening is no problem at all. However, vigorous training or competitions should be scheduled earlier in the day, if possible.”

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Consumer News: A late dinner and skipping breakfast could be dangerous following a heart attack

PhotoFollowing a heart attack, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is imperative. Now, a new study sheds light on how important eating habits are.

According to researchers, following regular mealtimes is key to optimal health following a heart attack. The study revealed that eating dinner close to bedtime and skipping breakfast can come with dangerous consequences.

“It is said that the best way to live is to breakfast like a king,” said researcher Dr. Marcos Minicucci. “A good breakfast is usually composed of dairy products (fat-free or low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese), a carbohydrate (whole wheat bread, bagels, cereals), and whole fruits. It should have 15 to 35 percent of our total daily calorie intake.”

Cause for concern

The researchers examined over 100 participants to see how eating habits affected them following a heart attack. All of the participants involved in the study had a heart attack known as STEMI -- ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. According to Dr. Minicucci, “one in 10 patients with STEMI dies within a year.”

The researchers observed the participants eating habits, noting when they ate a late dinner -- eating a meal within two hours of going to bed three times per week -- and when they skipped breakfast -- eating nothing before lunch, not including drinks, three times per week.

Over 50 percent of the participants in the study ate late dinners, while nearly 60 percent skipped breakfast at least three times per week. In total, over 40 percent of the participants did both.

“Our research shows that the two eating behaviours are independently linked with poorer outcomes after a heart attack, but having a cluster of bad habits will only make things worse,” Dr. Minicucci said. “People who work late may be particularly susceptible to having a late supper and then not being hungry in the morning.”

The researchers found that these poor habits came with some serious consequences. In not eating at regular mealtimes, participants increased their likelihood of having chest pain, having another heart attack, and dying, all within the first 30 days post-heart attack.

In addition, Dr. Minicucci and his team believe that the “inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and endothelial function” could play a role in “unhealthy eating behaviours and cardiovascular outcomes.”

Staying healthy

Though a recent study found that heart attacks aren’t as common or deadly as they were in the 90s, it’s important for consumers to maintain healthy lifestyles and prevent cardiovascular episodes in any way they can.

A recent study found that going back to work, which can be difficult for many consumers post-heart attack, is possible and can be done safely.

“Patients who believe they can still do their jobs and want to go back will make a success of it,” said researcher Dr. Rona Reibis. “After a heart attack it is very rare for patients to be physically unable to perform their previous duties, including heavy work.”

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Consumer News: BMW expands recall of vehicles with PCV issue

PhotoBMW of North America is recalling 184,505 model year 2006 525i, 525xi, 530i, 530xi, 530xi Sports Wagon, 325i, 325xi, 325xi Sports Wagon, 330i, 330xi, Z4 3.0i and Z4 3.0si vehicles -- expanding an earlier recall.

The heater for the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve may short circuit.

An electrical short can cause the parts within the PCV valve to melt, increasing the risk of a fire, even when the vehicle is not in use.

What to do

BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the PCV valve heater free of charge.

The recall is expected to begin May 28, 2019.

Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

Read more ...

Consumer News: USDA announces program that lets SNAP recipients shop and pay for food online

PhotoThe USDA announced Thursday that it has officially kicked off a two-year pilot program that allows those who receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to shop for groceries from online retailers.

“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

“As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients,” Secretary Perdue said. “We look forward to monitoring how these pilots increase food access and customer service to those we serve, specifically those who may experience challenges in visiting brick and mortar stores.”

Online SNAP transactions

At launch, the pilot is available to consumers in New York state, and other states are likely to join the program soon.

“Information regarding expansion will be available after this launch is determined successful and other pilot states indicate their readiness to implement,” the Department noted.

Amazon and Walmart are participating in the initial pilot launch, and ShopRite will be joining early next week. Amazon and ShopRite are providing the service to SNAP recipients in the New York City area, while Walmart will extend the service to those in upstate New York locations.

“We are excited to be part of the USDA’s pilot program and to be able to make our Grocery Pickup and Delivery service available to more and more people, regardless of their payment method,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement. “Access to convenience and to quality, fresh groceries shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay. This pilot program is a great step forward and we are eager to expand this to customers in other states where we already have a great online grocery business.”

The USDA said additional retailers are slated to participate in the pilot “in coming months.”

Read more ...

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