A McAfee security product that will use biometric technology to authenticate users will be available for download by the end of the year, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, last week.
“Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again,” Skaugen said.
Further product details were not immediately available. But one of the major inconveniences in using PCs and tablets is remembering passwords, which biometrics can tame.
An average user has about 18 passwords and biometric authentication will make PCs easier to use, Skaugen said.
Biometric authentication isn’t new. It’s being used in Apple Pay, where fingerprint authentication helps authorize credit card payments through the iPhone or iPad. Intel has been working on multiple forms of biometric authentication through fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.
McAfee is owned by Intel, and the chip maker is building smartphone, tablet and PC technology that takes advantage of the security software. Intel has also worked on biometric technology for wearable devices like SMS Audio’s BioSport In-Ear Headphones, which can measure a person’s heart rate.
Intel also wants to make PCs and tablets easier to use through wireless charging, display, docking and data transfers. Such capabilities would eliminate the need to carry power brick and cables for displays and data transfers. Such capabilities will start appearing in laptops next year with sixth-generation Core chips code-named Skylake, which will be released in the second half.
An Israeli firm claims it has developed technology that can charge a mobile phone in a few seconds and an electric car in minutes, advances that could transform two of the world’s most dynamic consumer industries.
Using nano-technology to synthesize artificial molecules, Tel Aviv-based StoreDot says it has developed a battery that can store a much higher charge more quickly, in effect acting like a super-dense sponge to soak up power and retain it.
While the prototype is currently far too bulky for a mobile phone, the company believes it will be ready by 2016 to market a slim battery that can absorb and deliver a day’s power for a smartphone in just 30 seconds.
“These are new materials, they have never been developed before,” said Doron Myersdorf, the founder and chief executive of StoreDot, whose investors include Russian billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.
The innovation is based around the creation of “nanodots”, which StoreDot describes as bio-organic peptide molecules. Nanodots alter the way a battery behaves to allow the rapid absorption and, critically, the retention of power.
The company has raised $48 million from two rounds of funding, including backing from a leading mobile phone maker. Myersdorf declined to name the company, but said it was Asian.
With the number of smartphone users forecast to reach 1.75 billion this year, StoreDot sees a big market, and some experts think that — with more work — it could be on to a winner.
“We live in a power hungry world … people are constantly chasing a power outlet. StoreDot has the potential to solve this real big problem,” said Zack Weisfeld, who has worked with and evaluated ventures in the mobile phone sector globally.
“They still have some way to go, to deal with size of battery and power cycle rounds, but if solvable, it’s a very big breakthrough,” he told Reuters. A power cycle round refers to the number of times a battery can be re-charged in its lifetime.
Myersdorf said a fast-charge phone would cost $100-$150 more than current models and would ultimately be able to handle 1,500 recharge/discharge cycles, giving it about three years of life.
Bay Trail was quite a big deal when it started shipping in late 2013.
It was a tablet chip that enabled great design wins such as the affordable Asus T100TA and even in late 2014 Asus used the platform to create the EeeBook X205, a $199 netbook.
Both of these designs are based on Intel’s Bay-Trail M processor, a year old 22nm quad-core processor based on the Silvermont design. Some machines that are coming with LTE, both netbooks and tablets and there will be new chip coming in 2015. It is called LTE Advanced XMM7360 chip and supports LTE Cat 10,3 CA up to 450 Mbits download and upload.
Intel will also offer Morrefield quad cores for machines with lower TDP ratings, especially tablets, and at some point in 2015 it will introduce its 14nm Airmont core based Cherry Trail processor. Cherry Trail based on 14nm Airmont core was originally expected in late 2014, but it got pushed towards middle of 2015.
Intel is clearly encountering more obstacles moving from the 22nm to the 14nm manufacturing process, but considering that most ARM competitors still have to start commercially shipping its 20nm SoCs in significant volumes, Intel still has a manufacturing node advantage. If only Intel had as many design wins to go along with its cutting edge fabs, as the company has been struggling to ship 40milion tablets in 2014, as promised.
Braxton will replace Cherry Trail in 2016. Braxton is a tock architecture, another 14nm design based on the quad-core Goldmont core. When it comes to the Performance Media Internet Device (MID) market Intel has another chip planned in 2016. It calls it SoFIA MID and the chip comes in intels 14nm manufacturing process.
Value and Entry markets for Media Internet Device (MID) and phones includes four new SoFIA parts, but with all these new and exciting chips Intel has to compete against some advanced chips coming on line in 2015, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 20nm, Nvidia Erista and more affordable Mediatek solutions such as the MT6795 A53-based octa-core and its successor.
Japan’s hemorrhaging technology giant Sony Corp plans to slice its TV and mobile phone product line-ups to cut costs, counting on multi-billion dollar revenue surges for its buoyant PlayStation 4 and image sensor businesses over the next three years.
Having lost ground to nimbler rivals like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in consumer electronics, Sony said on Tuesday its goal for TV and smartphones is to turn a profit, even if sales slide as much as 30 percent.
“We’re not aiming for size or market share but better profits,” Hiroki Totoki, Sony’s newly appointed chief of its mobile division told an investors’ conference. A poor showing by its Xperia smartphones has weighed heavily on recent earnings and Sony said more detail on plans for the unit will be unveiled before end-March.
Under its new three-year electronics business plan, Sony said it was aiming to boost sales for its videogame division by a quarter to as much as 1.6 trillion yen ($13.6 billion). It said that will be helped by personalized TV, video and music distribution services that should lift revenue per paying user.
At its devices division, which houses its image sensor business, Sony said sales could increase 70 percent to as much as 1.5 trillion yen. Sony’s sensor sales are already robust, with Apple using them in its iPhones while Chinese handset manufacturers are increasingly adopting them.
In a similar event last week for its entertainment units, the conglomerate said it was aiming to lift its movie and TV programming revenues by a third over the next three years.
China and “probably one or two” other countries have the ability to invade and possibly shut down computer systems of U.S. power utilities, aviation networks and financial companies, Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency said.
Testifying to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on cyber threats, Rogers said digital attackers have been able to penetrate such systems and perform “reconnaissance” missions to determine how the networks are put together.
“What concerns us is that access, that capability, can be used by nation-states, groups or individuals to take down that capability,” he said.
Rogers said China was one of the countries with that capability, but that there were others.
“There’s probably one or two others,” he said, declining to elaborate in a public setting.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Chinese government “forbids” cyber hacking and that it is often a victim of such attacks that originate from the United States.
“The Chinese government resolutely cracks down on these activities. This reality is irrefutable,” Hong told reporters at a regular press briefing late last week.
Intel has revealed an update to its CPU roadmap and some things have changed in 2015 and beyond. Let’s start with the Broadwell 14nm architecture. The first processors based on this technology are starting to show up in razor thin laptops and ultra-fast tablets. Intel should add ultra-expensive, as the first SKUs cost an arm and leg.
However, the Core M is excellent performer considering its 4.5W TDP envelope and this is the first time that Intel has made such as energy efficient Core processor. There will be some machines based on Core M vPro for business users and they should be available right now, depending on the market.
It almost feels like Intel launched Broadwell 14nm products just to please investors, as we don’t see too many people spending $999 or more on an ultra-thin notebook. It is reminiscent of the Ultrabook push, at least for now. Intel claims that there are 70 hybrids and two-in-one designs on the market right now. We will have to look into this number as it looks quite optimistic to us. We have to trust what Intel’s SVP Kirk Skaugen, the leader of the chipmaker’s PC group, is telling investors.
Intel has mentioned the 5th generation Core architecture and future notebooks and 2-in-1 PCs slated to launch next spring. This is a rather wide definition as spring starts in late March and ends in late June, so an educated guess would be mid- to late-Q2 2015, with rollouts at Computex 2015. Intel continues the tradition of launching Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors for customers and two processors for business users, namely Core i5 vPro and Core i7 vPro products. We suspect that Intel will call them Core I 5000 generation.
It looks like Braswell, the next generation Atom core, has been delayed. Intel now tells its investors that there will be a Braswell-based core coming branded as Pentium and Celeron in the second half of 2015. On some roadmaps leaked earlier this year Braswell was originally supposed to come in Q4 2014, then it got pushed to Q1 2015 and now probably even further. This means Bay Trail will have to last much longer than intended.
The new Skylake 14nm is going to end up as the sixth generation Core, so we would not be surprised to see them branded as the Core i7 6000 series. We are not sure how will Intel plans to have two generations coexisting in the same market at the same time, but the good news for desktop lovers is that Skylake will come to desktops and bring DDR4 to mainstream users.
AMD will face a lot of competition in 2015, but with the right pricing we believe that there is enough space for AMD-based notebooks and two-in-ones as well as desktops.
The prices have been falling steadily from $700 or more earlier this year. 4K monitors are available from Samsung, Sharp, Dell, Asus, Acer, Monoprice and small vendors.
4K gives a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, or four times deeper than conventional 1080p resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Dell is selling its 28 Ultra HD P2815Q monitor for $449.99, down from $699.99 when the product started shipping earlier this year. Newegg is selling 28-inch monitors from AOC and Planar for $499.99.
Samsung has also dropped the price of its 28-inch 4K monitor, the UD590, which is now selling for $599.99 through retailers like Best Buy and Newegg.
Not all 4K prices have dipped so low. Lenovo’s ThinkVision 28-inch Pro2840m is still selling for $799.99. It was announced in January and started shipping around the middle of the year.
It’s important to check all the features on lower priced monitors. They often have a all the main features and ports but suffer on refresh rates, which affect the display’s ability to cope with fast-moving images. For example, Dell’s P2815Q monitor has been criticized for its 30Hz refresh rate. Samsung’s UD590 has the more desirable 60Hz refresh rate via its DisplayPort 1.2, but it drops to 30Hz when connected to a PC via the HDMI port.
Increased competition is bringing prices down, as monitor makers try to attract buyers. Intel recently predicted that 4K monitor prices will fall to below $400 by the end of this year.
As with the other types of computer hardware, prices will continue to fall quickly over the next couple of years and then more gradually after that, said Jonathan Gaw, a research manager at IDC.
An advanced malicious software application has been discovered that since 2008 was used to spy on private companies, governments, research institutes and individuals in 10 countries, anti virus software maker Symantec Corp said in a report on Sunday.
The Mountain View, California-based maker of Norton anti virus products said its research showed that a “nation state” was likely the developer of the malware called Regin, or Backdoor. Regin, but Symantec did not identify any countries or victims.
Symantec said Regin’s design “makes it highly suited for persistent, long-term surveillance operations against targets,” and was withdrawn in 2011 but resurfaced from 2013 onward.
The malware uses several “stealth” features “and even when its presence is detected, it is very difficult to ascertain what it is doing,” according to Symantec. It said “many components of Regin remain undiscovered and additional functionality and versions may exist.”
Almost half of all infections occurred at addresses of Internet service providers, the report said. It said the targets were customers of the companies rather than the companies themselves. About 28 percent of targets were in telecoms while other victims were in the energy, airline, hospitality and research sectors, Symantec said.
Symantec described the malware as having five stages, each “hidden and encrypted, with the exception of the first stage.” It said “each individual stage provides little information on the complete package. Only by acquiring all five stages is it possible to analyze and understand the threat.”
Regin also uses what is called a modular approach that allows it to load custom features tailored to targets, the same method applied in other malware, such as Flamer and Weevil (The Mask), the anti virus company said. Some of its features were also similar to Duqu malware, uncovered in September 2011 and related to a computer worm called Stuxnet, discovered the previous year.
Symantec said Russia and Saudi Arabia accounted for about half of the confirmed infections of the Regin malware and the other countries were Mexico, Ireland, India, Iran,Afghanistan, Belgium, Austria and Pakistan.
A draft resolution calling for the break-up should be finalized early next week, with a vote potentially on Thursday, according to a report from The Financial Times. While the European Parliament has no formal power to break up the company, a vote to split Google could put pressure on the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.
The motion is backed by several German politicians and by the Parliament’s two largest political blocs, the European People’s Party and the Socialists, according to the newspaper. The Reuters news agency also reported on the plan.
A Google spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comments about the proposed break-up motion.
Google currently faces a long-running antitrust investigation in the EU. Google and the EU’s previous antitrust commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, agreed to a set of terms back in February, but after complaints from online publishers and other groups, the commission demanded more concessions from Google.
Consumer Watchdog, a consumer rights group and long-time Google critic, applauded the move. “This is exactly what needs to happen,” John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, said by email. “Search should be separated from Google’s other businesses. We called for this back in 2010 and the need to do this has become even clearer as Google’s power has increased.”
In 2010, the group called on the U.S. Department of Justice to split Google’s search service from other lines of business.
One of the better-known sites, Insecam, appeared to have gone offline after the warnings, but at least one site that publishes similar content was still available.
The websites show footage from security cameras used by businesses and in people’s homes, including CCTV networks that secure buildings and even cameras built into baby monitors.
Last week the U.K.’s data protection watchdog warned of a website based in Russia that accesses thousands of webcams using their default logins and passwords, which it said can be easily found online.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also weighed in, warning users to ensure video feeds are encrypted and that wireless routers are protected by passwords.
“Once you’ve bought your IP camera, check its security settings and keep its software up-to-date,” wrote Nicole Vincent Fleming, a consumer education specialist with the FTC in a blog post.
Security experts have long warned that not changing the default credentials on such devices can allow them to be accessed by hackers.
The domain name Insecam.cc was registered through GoDaddy earlier this month, though whoever registered it chose to keep their registration details private in the “whois” domain directory.
The U.K. information commissioner has reportedly urged the Russian authorities to take down the site.
EBay Inc is making over its local delivery program and extending more logistics options to smaller merchants that make up the bulk of the e-commerce giant’s sprawling base of marketplace sellers, according to one of its executives.
More of eBay’s smaller sellers, including some with annual sales under $100,000, will allow shoppers to buy items online that can be picked up in stores, an option now used by big companies such as Best Buy Co Inc and Toys ‘R’ Us.
EBay also plans to dismantle its standalone mobile app for its $5 same-day delivery service “eBay Now” as soon as this week. The service will instead be folded into eBay’s mobile app and website.
“The big play in the U.S. has been around buy online, pick-up in store,” Tom Allason, head of eBay Local, said Wednesday.
The shift reflects how eBay and other technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc, still struggle with the high cost of same-day delivery. Only a fraction of a small retailer’s sales come from customers who also opt for same-day delivery, making it difficult to make a profit.
“That’s a part of why delivery is only one piece of the equation,” Allason said in an interview.
Earlier, the e-commerce giant intensified efforts to court retailers as it prepares to split its marketplaces division next year from PayPal, the payments unit that has been the fastest-growing part of its business.
EBay had planned to expand same-day delivery to 25 markets by the end of 2014, but it is only available in New York, San Francisco, the broader Bay Area, Dallas and Chicago.
EBay is exploring other delivery options for the United States, Germany and other markets, including the “click-and-collect” model used by Shutl in the United Kingdom, in which shoppers pick up certain eBay purchases from British retailer Argos.
The inclusion of the paid-for Beats service in an iOS software update, which would instantly make it available on millions of iPhones and iPads, could happen as early as March, the daily reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
The move will mark the company’s first big push into subscription music, at a time when downloads from its iTunes are in decline, the paper said.
The service, which is likely to be rebranded under the iTunes label, will compete with music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Soundcloud.
Google Inc said last week that YouTube is rolling out a long-awaited paid monthly music subscription service called YouTube Music Key.
Apple, which bought music streaming and audio equipment company Beats in May for $3 billion, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Finland’s Nokia unveiled a new brand-licensed tablet computer which is designed to rival Apple’s iPad Mini, just six months after the company sold its underperforming phones and devices business to Microsoft for over $7 billion.
Nokia, a name which was once synonymous with mobile phones until first Apple and then Samsung Electronics eclipsed the Finnish company with the advent of smart phones, said the manufacturing, distribution and sales of the new N1 tablet, will be handled under license by Taiwan’s Foxconn.
The aluminum-cased N1, which runs on Google’s Android Lollipop operating software but features Nokia’s new Z Launcher intelligent home screen interface, is due to be in stores in China in the first quarter of next year for an estimated price of $249 before taxes, with sales to other markets to follow.
Sebastian Nystrom, the head of products at Nokia’s Technologies unit, said the company was looking to follow up with more devices and will also look into eventually returning to the smartphones business by brand-licensing.
“With the agreement with Microsoft, as is customary, we have this transition and we can’t do smartphones … We have a time limit. In 2016 we can again enter that business,” Nystrom told Reuters.
“It would be crazy not to look at that opportunity. Of course we will look at it.”
Microsoft last week dropped the Nokia name on its latest Lumia 535 smartphone, which runs on its Windows Phone 8 operating system, but still uses the brand for more basic phones.
After the Microsoft sale Nokia was left with its core network equipment and services business plus its smaller HERE mapping and navigation unit and Nokia Technologies, which manages the licensing of its portfolio of patents and develops new products such as the N1 and the Z Launcher.
The end-to-end encryption comes thanks to a collaboration between WhatsApp and Open Whisper Systems, an open-source development company focused on secure communications.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has more than 600 million users who log in monthly, making Open Whisper’s encryption deployment the largest ever in the area of end-to-end encrypted communication, Open Whisper said.
The encryption is on by default. It’s only available for Android right now, though the companies are working to roll out support for other platforms.
End-to-end encryption has gained attention following the disclosures about government surveillance last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Meanwhile, the flood of cyber attacks targeting retailers and Internet companies alike have highlighted the need for better data security.
Edward Snowden himself has called end-to-end encryption the best possible form of encryption, because it keeps people’s data encrypted even while it’s on company servers. The data, in theory, can only be decrypted on people’s personal devices. That means outside groups must target individuals’ machines if they want to access the data.
Some other mainstream services like Google have released products to facilitate end-to-end encryption. And along with Apple, Google’s also working to make encryption the default on smartphones.
But end-to-end encryption still is primarily offered by lesser known companies that don’t rely on people’s data for advertising.
WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption uses Whisper’s TextSecure protocol, which encrypts text messages over the air and on people’s phones.
WhatsApp declined to comment further on the encryption deployment.
Encryption should be a matter of priority and used by default. That’s the message from the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the worldwide body in charge of the internet’s technology infrastructure.
The IAB warned in a statement that “the capabilities and activities of attackers are greater and more pervasive than previously known”.
It goes on to say: “The IAB urges protocol designers to design for confidential operation by default. We strongly encourage developers to include encryption in their implementations, and to make them encrypted by default.
“We similarly encourage network and service operators to deploy encryption where it is not yet deployed, and we urge firewall policy administrators to permit encrypted traffic.”
The purpose, the IAB claims, is to instill public trust in the internet after the myriad high-profile cases in which computer traffic has been intercepted, ranging from bank details to email addresses and all points in between.
The news will be unwelcome to the security services, which have repeatedly objected to initiatives such as the default encryption in iOS8 and Android L, claiming that it is in the interest of the population to retain the right to intercept data for the prevention of terrorism.
However, leaked information, mostly from files appropriated by rogue NSA contractor Edward Snowden, suggests that the right of information interception is abused by security services including the UK’s GCHQ.
These allegations include the collection of irrelevant data, the investigation of cold cases not in the public interest, and the passing of pictures of nude ladies to colleagues.