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Android Based Keyboard Application Appears To Leak Data

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Another day, another dodgy Android app discovered, this time in the form of the personal data leaking ai.type Keyboard.

Uncovered by security researchers at Kromtech Security Centre, the keyboard app that offers an alternative to the native keyboards on Android and iOS devices was found to be extracting personal data from some 31 million users and flinging it over to an unsecured database server owned by the app’s co-founder Eitan Fitusi.

The data leak, according to the researchers, only affects the app on Android and not iOS, so iPhone users can keep feeling smug.

After the researchers apparently repeatedly tried to contact Fitusi, the app maker eventually added password protection to the database that held more than 577GB of user data, after it had been previously been left open to anyone who wandered by on the digital highways of the internet.

Had any of the malicious types that lurk on the web found the server they could have extracted all manner of user data, from full names, email addresses, and location, basically a treasure trove of information for people who get their kicks from identity theft and fraud.

Furthermore, security researcher Bob Diachenko noted that the app seemed to hoover up quite a lot of data for what would appear to be a simple keyboard tool.

“It raises the question of why would a keyboard and emoji application need to gather the entire data of the user’s phone or tablet? Based on the leaked database they appear to collect everything from contacts to keystrokes. This is a shocking amount of information on their users who assume they are getting a simple keyboard application,” he said.

Now it’s worth pointing out that the ai.type Keyboard app does note that it’ll suck up data and requires permissions to the user’s mobile contacts database, though it points out that “all information is locally stored on smartphone’s vocabulary”.

And the app touts privacy as a big focus, noting that text tapped into the keyboard is private and encrypted.

But the security researchers found that this isn’t the case, given that not only was there an unsecured server sitting full of user data, but the texts weren’t encrypted either as they were able to download and look through the database files where they found a table containing 8.6 million entries of text that had been typed into the keyboard app.

So pretty much the promise of privacy, which ai.type outlines on its website has appeared to have a strong whiff of BS.

Whether the data protection and encryption failings are deliberate or just down to some server setup fumbling, is still up for debate. We’ve attempted to contact ai.type for comment and clarification as to what the hell it was playing at.

Such breaches in data protection are worrying as ai.type Keyboard is a widely used app that’s been well reviewed and comes from a legit developer, basically raising the question as to who can you trust these days. We’ll console ourselves by sticking with default keyboards for the time being. 

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft, Mozilla User Share Falling, Says Recent Report

December 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge browsers fell last month in user share as the once-universal programs ran on just one in every six personal computers worldwide.

According to U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications, the user share of IE and Edge – an estimate of the world’s personal computer owners who ran that browser – plummeted by 3.3 percentage points to end November at 16.3%. The decline was the largest ever for Microsoft’s browsers.

Mozilla’s Firefox also stumbled badly last month, losing nearly 2 of its hard-won percentage points, slipping to 11.4%, its lowest user share since October 2016.

These numbers, and more importantly the fact that IE+Edge’s and Firefox’s numbers sank to such a degree, is striking. But it was as much a data reset by Net Applications as proof of massive user desertions.

As it has periodically, Net Applications has reworked how it tracks browsers, operating systems and other metrics of interest to online businesses. In a message appended to a refreshed analytics display, Net Applications explained that it had rewritten its “entire collection and aggregation infrastructure to address” out-of-whack data.

The culprit? Bots, said Net Applications. These software-based tools often are deployed by criminals, who program their automated scripts to mimic human online behavior, perhaps in an attempt to cash in on an ad click fraud scam.

“Bots can cause significant skewing of data,” admitted Net Applications. “We have seen situations where traffic from certain large countries is almost completely bot traffic. In other countries, ad fraudsters generate traffic that spoofs certain technologies in order to generate high-value clicks. Or, they heavily favor a particular browser or platform.”

While some may want to blame the large shifts in browser user share on Net Applications’ scouring its data of bot traffic, that would be the wrong move. “Please note: This dataset is separate from and replaces the legacy data,” the company said, making clear that it had gone back into past data too, not just November’s, and eradicated the numbers it ascribed to bots.

Under the new methodology, for example, IE+Edge in October was 16%, or 3.6 points lower than Net Applications called the pair using the older, bots-plagued data. Using the new-only data, IE+Edge actually edged up (no pun intended) by about two-tenths of a percentage point. Likewise, Firefox was at 11.7% in October under the new scheme, but 13.1% under the old. (Firefox’s drop, then, was about three-tenths of a percentage point during November.)

Assuming that the new methodology cleaned out all or most of the dodgy bot-driven traffic from Net Application’s data, the bottom line is that the numbers now portray IE+Edge, and to a lesser extent, Firefox, in less flattering lights. Microsoft’s browsers have deteriorated to a point unthinkable just two years ago, when they ran on more than half the world’s personal computers. And Firefox’s climb back from a near-death experience in 2016 has not been as impressive as the data once showed.

Also of interest were the new data points for Edge and IE calculated against only Windows personal computers. Because both browsers run only on Windows devices, it has been possible to surmise their share on that platform alone. Of all Windows 10 users, just 13.2%, a record low, ran Edge in November (Edge only runs on Windows 10). As recently as March, Edge’s share of Windows 10 had been around 22%.

IE’s share of 18.4% of all Windows PCs was slightly better than Edge’s, but like its successor, IE’s November mark was an all-time low. At the start of 2016, IE’s Windows-only share was a more respectable 28.5%.

Brave Browser Digital Rewards Comes To YouTube

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Brave Software, the company responsible for the niche Brave browser, earlier this month opened its digital currency-based reward system to YouTube content creators, giving users a way to send influencers small amounts of cash.

“Audiences can use the Brave Payments system to reward their favorite YouTube creators with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT),” read an unsigned post to the company’s blog. “YouTube viewers can either distribute contributions based on the time they spend viewing material or by ‘pinning’ a set amount for a particular channel.”

The experiment was the first to depart from Brave’s usual reimbursement rules, which let browser users select nothing more specific than a domain as a BAT destination.

Brave Software’s underlying model and its business plan are, to put it mildly, unusual. The browser puts a price on online users’ attention with blockchain-based tokens that eventually will be traded between publishers, advertisers and consumers willing to view ads. At the moment, however, the only real money in the system is what individual users have loaded into their electronic wallets as they experiment with the browser.

The BAT concept is designed as a substitute for traditional online advertising, which Brave Software claims is broken. “[Brave] enables a direct monetary relationship between the content creator and their audience,” the blog post continued. “Users can decide who to compensate.”

To be eligible for receipt of BATs – which can be converted into physical currency – content creators must verify their identity and their YouTube channel with Brave Software, meaning that for significant participation, the browser maker must get the word out. It was unclear whether Brave Software plans such an outreach, and if so, how or whether it would rely on its users to tell content creators to register.

By compensating creators individually, and directly, Brave Software avoids paying YouTube, the platform. Brave Software pointed out that the scheme may be especially interesting to those who don’t meet the 10,000-lifetime-view minimum that YouTube requires before it begins sharing advertising revenue with those who shoot videos.

The strategy can also be scaled, Brave Software contended. “We plan on extending BAT to additional user-generated content platforms so that more creators can benefit from audience support,” said the company.

Brave’s YouTube plan may be attractive to some advertisers, said Lizzy Foo Kune, principal research analyst at Gartner, in an interview. Marketers searching for alternatives to traditional web advertising, she argued, are looking at influencers, among them people with popular YouTube channels, to boost their brands.

“This might be enticing from a marketer’s point of view, [to conduct] influence marketing by directing the payments back to the creators,” she said.

Brave’s approach seems pertinent to niche or regional marketing and advertising, Foo Kune added, because it could provide revenue to YouTube-based influencers – like some of the “YouTube beauty personalities” highlighted in a recent piece in the New York Times – who have a small but growing audience.

Microsoft Warning Customers Free Office Viewer Going Away

November 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is alerting customers that it will retire several Office application viewers in little more than four months, shutting off the spigot to the free document readers used by those without the productivity suite.

“The Excel Viewer, PowerPoint Viewer, PowerPoint 2007 Viewer and the Office Compatibility Pack, will be retired in April 2018,” said a post to a company blog. “At that time, they will no longer be available for download and will no longer receive security updates.”

The announcement followed one a year ago, when the firm said it would put the Word Viewer to pasture in November 2017. That hasn’t happened yet; the Word Viewer was still available as of Monday.

Along with the also-free Office Compatibility Pack – which will be chopped next April, too – the viewers let people not equipped with an actual Office bundle to open, view and read, and print Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint decks and Word documents. The idea was to allow collaboration with as large a workplace population as possible.

Microsoft launched the viewer concept at the end of the 20th century, but essentially halted development with the versions matching Office 2007. They have been patched against security vulnerabilities since then, however. The viewers were made unnecessary for many by the introduction in 2010 of Office Online, and the mobile versions of Office’s applications, which superseded that initial effort.

In view of the impending retirements, customers should seek alternatives. Microsoft suggested the appropriate mobile apps from the Windows Store for Windows 10 devices; the iOS and Android mobile apps for those with iPhones and iPads, and Android or ChromeOS hardware, respectively; an Office 365 subscription for Windows PCs and/or Macs; and OneDrive and its built-in viewer for Windows 7- and 8.1- personal computers.

At their retirement, the viewers and the Compatibility Pack will be removed from Microsoft’s download website, and updates will cease. Existing copies of will continue to work normally.

Until they’re scrubbed from Microsoft’s site, the Excel Viewer, PowerPoint Viewer, PowerPoint Viewer 2007 and Compatibility Pack can be downloaded free of charge.

There are, of course, other ways to wrangle older Office file formats, or view – or even work with – Office documents without the Microsoft suite itself.

For example, Google Docs lets users open Excel, PowerPoint and Word files in an Office Compatibility Mode (OCM), then save the results as Sheets, Slides or Docs files, respectively, and Office files can be converted to Google’s formats from Google Drive.

A Chrome add-on, Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides, simplifies this further by opening dragged-to-the-browser Office files in the pertinent Google online application.

The open-source OpenOffice and LibreOffice can also open Microsoft Office-formatted files.

Yahoo Out, Google In For Firefox Corporate Browser

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc’s Google picked up a previous location as the default search engine on Mozilla Corp’s Firefox Internet browser in the United States and other regions as the browser maker stunned Verizon Communication Inc’s Yahoo by canceling their deal.

Google confirmed the move but declined, along with Mozilla, to disclose revenue-sharing terms of the multiyear agreement. Google’s growing spending to be the primary search provider on apps and devices such as Apple Inc’s iPhone has been a major investor concern.

 Google will be Firefox’s default search provider on desktop and mobile in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief business and legal officer.

The decision was “based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search and the broader content experience for our users,” Dixon said. “We believe there are opportunities to work with Oath and Verizon outside of search.”

Verizon said Mozilla terminating the Yahoo agreement caught it off guard.

“We are surprised that Mozilla has decided to take another path, and we are in discussions with them regarding the terms of our agreement,” said Charles Stewart, a spokesman for Verizon’s Oath unit, which oversees Yahoo.

The search provider switch came as Mozilla announced Firefox Quantum, a faster, new version of the browser that company says is “30 percent lighter” than Google Chrome in that it uses less computer memory.

For a decade until 2014, Google had been Firefox’s worldwide search provider. Google then remained the default in Europe while regional rivals such as Yahoo, Russia’s Yandex and China’s Baidu Inc replaced it elsewhere.

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer won a five-year contract with Mozilla in 2014 when Firefox and Google’s Chrome browser were battling for users.

 Chrome’s U.S. market share has since doubled to about 60 percent, according to data from analytics provider StatCounter, with Mozilla, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp browsers capturing the rest.

Yahoo paid Mozilla $375 million in 2015 and said that it would pay at least the same amount annually through 2019, according to regulatory filings.

Yahoo and Google aim to recoup placement fees by selling ads alongside search results and collecting valuable user data. Google said in October that contract changes drove a 54 percent increase in such fees to $2.4 billion in the third quarter.

 

Mozilla Revamps Firefox For iOS Devices

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla has rolled out a revamped Firefox for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, debuting the new look that will also grace the more popular desktop version of the browser next week.

Firefox for iOS version 10, which is available in the App Store, features the same user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) that will also mark Firefox 57 for Windows, macOS and Linux, when it ships Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Derived from an ongoing project tapped as “Photon,” the Firefox UI/UX mimics the minimalism of other browsers, notably Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge, with reduced clutter at the top of the window that includes combined address and search bars.

Firefox for iOS 10’s other changes range from a revamped menu under the three-lined “hamburger” icon at the upper right to a recast new tab display, with the latter replicating the desktop browser’s design.

But most of the drum-thumping that Mozilla has done for what it has billed as “Firefox Quantum” – the alternate name for the upcoming Firefox 57 – is simply moot, and muted, on iOS.

That’s because, like all browsers allowed into the App Store, Firefox for iOS is, at root, Safari, because Apple mandates that rivals rely on the same WebKit rendering and Nitro JavaScript engines used by its own Safari. Firefox on iOS, as is Chrome on the iPhone and iPad, is little more than a different UI wrapper around iOS’s default browser.

That leaves competitors able to credibly compete only on a UI basis, and on the argument that it’s more productive to use the same browser on both mobile and desktop.

So, Firefox on iOS cannot boast the same speed improvements that mark Firefox Quantum on personal computers – Mozilla said Quantum is twice as fast as Firefox of a year earlier – nor will the iPhone and iPad browser be able to offer the future additions Mozilla envisions for its desktop browser, among them a graphics processor-enhanced renderer.

Apple’s long-standing rule conceivably has multiple fathers, but the most important to Apple, certainly, is that it precludes anyone gaining a performance edge over Safari, which Firefox might if Mozilla were allowed to use its own under-the-hood technologies. Minus performance differences, there are few reasons for switching.

Apple’s position has paid off.

While Microsoft has seen its browsers’ share tank on the far-more-open Windows – in October, Internet Explorer and Edge accounted for 19.7% of all Windows browsers, down from 52% just two years earlier – Apple has kept its users close, and on Safari. According to Irish analytics vendor StatCounter, 92% of all browsing activity on iOS in October was via Safari. In the U.S., Safari’s percentage on iOS was a slightly higher 95.3%.

Another metrics vendor, U.S-based Net Applications, pegged Safari’s worldwide user share on iOS at 89.2%. (Those percentages from StatCounter and Net Applications were only possible to calculate because Safari runs only on iOS.)

 

Opera Browser Now Supports Virtual Reality

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Opera desktop browser was revamped with social media capabilities earlier this year, but the updates didn’t end there.

The latest update adds VR support to the multifaceted browser, letting you stream 360-degree videos to your HTC Vive or Oculus headset, as well as any OpenVR devices. It’ll also let you edit screenshots, add emojis and take selfies with your laptop camera.

The feature-packed update comes as Opera plays catch up to Chrome, Safari and Firefox, and the new features are part of the company’s plan to rethink and modernize the browser as part of its Reborn project.

While tracking site Statcounter says Opera’s market share is just 3.89 percent globally in October, Opera is reporting rosy numbers. It claims to have seen double-digit growth in 2017, with active monthly users increasing by 25 percent year-on-year. The company says use of its desktop browser has grown by 65 percent in the US, 64 percent in France and by 50 percent in the UK.

Other features previously added include built-in browser support for chat services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and VK. Unit conversions were also added in a September update, making it easier to figure out time zones, miles to kilometers and more.

Windows 7 Still Microsoft’s Most Popular OS

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Windows 7 lost a few more users last month as its share of the overall Windows universe slipped a bit closer to 50%.

But if the veteran operating system were a person, it would be that party guest who stayed well past welcome, lingering long after everyone else has left, after the hosts have, in fact, gone to bed. And there Windows 7 would sit, talking without a listener, making itself at home, feet up on the coffee table.

According to metrics vendor Net Applications, Windows 7’s user share in October was 46.6%, a decline of six-tenths of a percentage point. More notable during these times of migration, the operating system ran 51.4% of all Windows machines during the same stretch, a month-to-month drop of seventh-tenths of a point. (The second percentage is larger because Windows was detected on 90.8% of the world’s PCs, not 100%; the remainder ran macOS or a Linux flavor.)

October’s decline was only half that of September, but was still the third largest of 2017.

The continued weakening of Windows 7’s user share – five months of declines and counting – is a promising sign, as the operating systems faces a deadline: Microsoft has set Windows 7’s retirement for Jan. 14, 2020, now little more than 26 months away. The faster Windows 7 relinquishes its user share, the less the chance that businesses will find themselves running unpatched, and thus, vulnerable, machines. No one wants a repeat of the panicky last few months of Windows XP’s lifespan, when companies blew through IT budgets scrambling to purge the obsolete OS.

Yet Windows 7 remains behind the pace set by XP . With 26 months to go before its April 2014 retirement, XP accounted for 49.4% of all Windows PCs, or two points lower than Windows 7’s share in October. Things could be worse: In August, Windows 7 was three points behind XP’s tempo. But the lack of progress in matching XP’s slide toward irrelevance must be disheartening to Microsoft, which continues to sing Windows 10’s praises, and even assert that Windows 7 is not only old and tired, but simply not up to the tasks required of it.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 did see a bump in user share last month of two-tenths of a point, ending October at 29.3%. When only Windows systems are counted, its share of that pool was 32.8%, within shouting distance of the one-in-three milestone. Computerworld calculated that, with the 12-month trend in Net Applications’ data, Windows 10 should pass the 33.3% line during December.

The Nokia 3310 Finally Arrives On US Shores

October 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

If you’ve been pining for the uber-popular Nokia 3310 throwback phone, pine no longer. It’s coming to the US on Oct. 29. The catch: The $60 phone will only work with 3G networks. That makes it fine for calls, games of Snake and the occasional email or Facebook update, but not for just about everything else you’d want to do on a phone.

And that’s how it’s supposed to be. The reboot of 2000’s OG Nokia 3310 is pure nostalgia, as well as a little practicality for those seeking a cheap phone with monthlong battery life to make calls on. The modern 3310 has a similar boxy design to the original, plus a few very necessary upgrades like a color screen, a 2-megapixel camera, MicroSD card support and a mini web browser.

Originally, the new Nokia 3310 wouldn’t work in the US, but Nokia brand name licensor HMD Global has tweaked the innards to make a US variation possible.

You can preorder the Nokia 3310 3G on bestbuy.com. The phone comes in four colors: azure, charcoal, red and yellow.

 

Will PC Sales Ever Make A Comeback

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Beancounters at Gartner have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that sales of traditional PCs are still falling.

Things might pick up next year, but PC sales have continued to fall and analyst always say “things will get better next year.”

Gartner said that PC shipments will drop by nearly eight percent this year, and another 4.4 percent in 2018. By 2019, 16 million fewer traditional PCs and notebooks will be sold than were shipped this year.

However, much of this will be offset by the rise in spending on high-end notebooks so that the overall PC market will by 2019 be at pretty much the same level it was last year.

Tablets — defined by Gartner as basic and utility ultramobile devices — will also decline over the period to 2019.

But despite the declines in traditional PC sales, Gartner said it was a misconception that everyone has gone mobile, noting that its own research found that users depend just as much on PCs or tablets as they do on smartphones. One big difference between smartphones and PCs is that people are replacing their handsets much more regularly.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner Atwal said: “Users holding onto their PCs for longer remains a major issue for the PC market. In contrast, users continue to replace their smartphone quite frequently.”

Business PC shipments could return to growth by the end of this year, driven by faster Windows 10 replacement in many regions — especially in Western Europe.

“Despite the fact that prices have been rising due to higher component costs, Windows 10 replacements have kept the PC market relatively stable through 2017,” said Atwal. “We estimate that the PC market (desk-based, notebook and ultramobiles) is set to return to 0.8 percent growth in 2018,” he continued. According to Gartner, this trend would be driven by growth in Russia and China.

Courtesy-Fud

Can The Latest Version Of Internet Explorer Be Exploted

October 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser carries a serious bug that leaks whatever you type into the address bar.

The bug, disclosed by security researcher Manuel Caballero earlier this week, allows the website the user is currently visiting to view any text they type into the browser’ address bar, with that text becoming readable as soon as they hit the enter key.

“When a script is executed inside an object-HTML tag, the location object will get confused and return the main location instead of its own,” Caballero wrote. “To be precise, it will return the text written in the address bar so whatever the user types there will be accessible by the attacker.”

As noted by Ars Technica, as well as web addresses, this flaw could also expose search queries, since IE allows them to be typed into the address bar and then retrieved from Bing or other search services.

Caballero, in his damning exposé, said it’s likely that Microsoft is trying to get users off of Internet Explorer and onto its Edge web browser, hence why it’s making the latter more secure. 

“Imagine what black hats can do right now: they can stay in your browser even if you navigate to a different site, which gives them plenty of time to do ugly stuff like mining digital currencies while abusing of users CPUs,” he wrote. “Also, IE has its popUp blocker is completely broken and nobody seems to care.”

However, Internet Explorer remains the most popular version of Microsoft’s browser, with 17 per cent of the global market compared to Edge’s six.

Microsoft acknowledged the bug and said that it a fix likely will arrive in its next Patch Tuesday release.

“Windows has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues, and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible,” a spokesperson said. “Our standard policy is to provide solutions via our current Update Tuesday schedule.”

Courtesy-TheInq

FireFox Quantum Browser Coming In November

October 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

After being stuck in the slow lane for ages, Mozilla’s new Quantum browser is starting to look like it might be faster than Chrome.

A beta version of Firefox Quatum lets you test whether Mozilla’s newly named web browser, replete with changes built over more than a year, is a match for Google. We had a quick look and it managed to make Fudzilla’s esoteric CMS machine go like the clappers. Opera on the other hand keeps on insisting that it needs a password for every screen.

Mozilla CEO Chris Beard claims that the new browser is a “big bang” although we suggest that probably means he needs to get out more. Company executives have acknowledged they let Firefox languish but now it is ready to do better with its life.

Firefox 57 is faster at starting up and loading web pages, judged on page-load speed, “Firefox Quantum is often perceivably faster” while using 30 percent less memory, Nguyen said in a blog post Tuesday. And it’s twice as fast as Firefox a year ago.

The new Firefox revamp includes Quantum Flow, which stamps out dozens of performance bugs, and Quantum CSS, aka Stylo, which speeds up website formatting. Photon that kills Firefox’s rounded tabs and adds a “page action” menu into the address bar. It also builds in the Pocket bookmarking service Mozilla acquired and uses it to recommend sites.

All up, it does not appear too bad. The phrase “at bloody last” crosses my mind. It still needs its acid test – whether or not it can handle Mrs Farrell’s shopping, which for some reason requires 105 open tabs which must never be closed unless you want to be divorced.

Firefox Quantum will arrive in its final form on November the 14th.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Developing Neuromorphic Processor

October 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has announced a new neuromorphic chip, codenamed Loihi, designed for AI and deep learning workloads.

Intel’s Dr. Michael Mayberry said that the chip does not need to be trained in the traditional way and that it takes a new approach to this type of computing by using asynchronous spiking.This uses a technique which is different from a transistor. Instead of flipping between 0 and a 1, it triggers when signal thresholds are reached, and fire unit the number of spikes exceeds a given threshold.

This is how muscles work when they flex.

Intel said: “The brain’s neural networks relay information with pulses or spikes, modulate the synaptic strengths or weight of the interconnections based on timing of these spikes, and store these changes locally at the interconnections. Intelligent behaviors emerge from the cooperative and competitive interactions between multiple regions within the brain’s neural networks and its environment. While neural spike models have been a useful way to study and understand biological cells, they have yet to be deployed as solutions for real-world computing or engineering problems. There’s tremendous potential for cutting-edge applications, but it’s less clear how these capabilities will be practically deployed.”

 Loihi is up to a million times faster than other “typical” spiking neural nets when solving MNIST digit recognition problems. It also claims that Loihi is more efficient when used for convolutional neural networks or deep learning tasks.

According to Extreme Tech each neuron can communicate with thousands of other neurons, while each neuromorphic “core” includes what Intel is calling a “learning engine.” The total number of neurons onboard is 130,000, with 130 million synapses. That’s markedly less than IBM’s TrueNorth, which debuted three years ago with one million programmable neurons and 256 million synapses across 4,096 neurosynaptic cores.

Intel sees Loihi as part of a stable of products that range from the HPC-focused Xeon Phi, to the deep learning products it bought when it acquired Nervana, to its own FPGAs, to low-power Movidius solutions. Long-term, the company wants to field deep learning and AI resources that can stretch to cover any market segment or available power envelope.

Courtesy-Fud

CloudFlare To Launch Service To Protect Against Against DDoS Attacks

October 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Cloudflare is making protection against DDoS attacks free, regardless of how bad they are and claims that soon that method of bringing down a website will be history.

For those who came in late, Cloudflare is one of the bigger internet security firms and it wants to kill off distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks . The company announced Monday that every customer—including those who only use its free services—will receive a new feature called Unmetered Mitigation, which protects against every DDoS attack, regardless of its size.

Now every website can fight back against DDoS attacks for free. Previously, customers who bought less expensive plans from Cloudflare, or another security firm, were still vulnerable to larger scale DDoS attacks. Now, Cloudflare will use its resources to help everyone fight an attack, regardless of how much they pay.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said the standard practice in the industry for some time has been to charge more if you come under attack and will fire you as a customer if you’re not sort of paying enough and you get a large attack.

Prince said that Unmetered Mitigation has the power to render DDoS an activist tool of the past.

Prince sees the playing field of DDoS attacks as fundamentally uneven. “We should not create a system of vigilante justice where a single individual—because they are upset with someone—can shut them down,” he said. “What we are trying to do is say ‘regardless of what your resources are, we will keep you online.'”

He told Motherboard: “We can now absorb anything that the internet throws at us,” he said. DDoS attacks are going to become “something you only read about in the history books”.

Courtesy-Fud

Zoho Unveils Cliq, Challenges Slack And Microsoft Teams

October 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Zoho has introduced the latest challenger to Slack and Microsoft Teams with the launch of Cliq — a team messaging tool that integrates into its range of business apps.

The core features found in Cliq will, for the most part, be familiar to users of established workplace collaboration tools, with group chat, file-sharing, video and voice call functionality. Separate channels can be set up for discussions with individual teams or around specific projects.

Cliq bots can perform various functions such as automatically pulling into the chat window information such as sales reports, as well as updating other Zoho apps. There are more than 20 third-party integrations, allowing information from Google Drive, Dropbox and Eventbrite, among others, to be pulled into the chat platform.

Cliq’s main strength, however, lies in its integration with Zoho’s own suite of tools, including Zoho CRM, Zoho Mail and Zoho Docs. In addition to opening Cliq through individual browser, desktop and mobile versions, Zoho customers can access the messaging tool from within its other applications.

The Indian company, which sells predominantly to small and midsize firms, has around 30 million customers using its tools. It recently bundled all 38 of these tools together into a single package, Zoho One, for a subscription fee of $30 a month per user.

“On its own, Cliq adds some compelling elements to collaborative chat by integrating audio/video call channel capabilities. But it does face very steep competition from competitors like Slack who have been in the marketplace for a few years now and have traction in the enterprise,” says Brent Leary at consultancy firm CRM Essentials.

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