Microsoft discontinue issuing detailed security bulletins in February, which for nearly 20 years have provided individual users and IT professionals information about vulnerabilities and their patches.
One patching expert crossed his fingers that Microsoft would make good on its pledge to publish the same information when it switches to a new online database. “I’m on the fence right now,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with patch management vendor Shavlik, of the demise of bulletins. “We’ll have to see [the database] in February before we know how well Microsoft has done [keeping its promise].”
Microsoft announced the demise of bulletins in November, saying then that the last would be posted with January’s Patch Tuesday — the monthly round of security updates for Windows and other Microsoft software — and that the new process would kick in on Feb. 14, next month’s patch day.
The web-based bulletins have been a feature of Microsoft’s patch disclosure policies since at least 1998, and for almost as long have been considered the professional benchmark by security experts.
The documents stored in the database are specific to a vulnerability on an edition of Windows, or a version of another Microsoft product. They can be sorted and filtered by the affected software, the patch’s release date, its CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifier, and the numerical label of the KB, or “knowledge base” support document.
“Our customers have asked for better access to update information, as well as easier ways to customize their view to serve a diverse set of needs,” wrote an unnamed member of the Microsoft Security Response Center in November to explain the switch from bulletins to database.
Finnish mobile games and animation developer Rovio Entertainment is intensifying its search for new hit games by opening a studio in London to focus on multiplayer games that would not rely on the company’s Angry Birds brand.
Privately-held Rovio has struggled in recent years as profits from the Angry Birds franchise dropped, prompting deep job cuts and divestments.
But last year Rovio launched an animated Angry Birds 3D Hollywood film that it said did well at the box office and yielded new licensing deals.
“MMO is a genre that is growing in mobile, but it is not fully saturated. We are not looking for a niche position but a very wide, inclusive game,” Wilhelm Taht, head of games, told Reuters.
The original Angry Birds game, in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs, was launched in 2009 and it remains the top paid mobile app of all time.
Rovio exploited the brand early on by licensing its use on a string of consumer products. But the company’s failure to bring out new hit games resulted in falling profit, prompting Rovio to cut more than 300 jobs in 2014 and 2015.
“In the long term, our new characters may generate intellectual property and even a brand,” Taht said.
Rovio has a series of smartphone games based on Angry Birds characters. In 2015 it published a puzzle game called Nibblers and it will soon put out Battle Bay, a real-time multiplayer game.
Rovio is not looking to launch a large number of games this year, Taht added.
“Perhaps there’s been some change in our thinking here,” he said. “The market is favorable for games that will live long and that are operated with a service mindset.”
Asked about Nintendo’s hit smartphone game Pokemon GO, Taht said the game truly put augmented reality (AR) on the gaming map.
“We will, of course, be following AR as a technology and a tool,” he said.
In the first half of 2016 Rovio booked a small operating profit, compared with a loss a year earlier, help by growth in game sales.
Rovio has around 200 employees spread between its four game studios in Finland and Sweden and about 400 in total.
The move to AI could be the one catalyst which could help AMD and Nvidia carve up Intel’s mighty kingdom.
Last year saw Microsoft, Apple, Google develop more software for ARM based chips. During the year AMD and Nvidia saw their stock prices rise as shareholders started to think that they might succeed in taking Intel’s crown.
On of the reasons for this is AI which is fast becoming a bigger buzz world than Interent of Things – which is the basket Intel is putting its eggs into.
AMD and Nvidia are both making perfect AI processors in their graphics cards and now that AMD has released Polaris it is properly in a game dominated by Nvidia. AMD’s Radeon Instinct is specifically designed for the market.
Intel is doing ok in the market but it is not growing as fast as AMD or Nvidia.
According to the Verge, investors are buying up AMD stock because they know the processing challenges of the future are practically tailored for the massively parallel architecture of a GPU.
Nvidia and IBM have revealed their own agreement to provide “the world’s fastest” deep learning enterprise solution.
AMD and Nvidia should do well in the growing consumer interest in virtual reality although that might be a bubble waiting to burst. On paper at least, the most popular HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both require tons of GPU power. However it is a moot point if these machines are the ones that will make AR work or if it will be something much cheaper and require less spec.
But if AR does take off then it will be yet another thing that Intel missed out on.
Robots should be granted rights as “electronic persons,” members of the European Parliament recommended — but not until the machines are all fitted with “kill” switches to shut them down in an emergency.
Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee wants the European Commission to propose legislation that will settle a number of ethical and liability issues in the field of robotics — including who is to blame when an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision.
Granting the more sophisticated autonomous robots some kind of electronic personhood could settle issues of who is responsible for their actions, the committee suggested. More urgent than the question of robot rights, though, is setting up an obligatory insurance scheme that would pay the victims of a self-driving car if it caused an accident in the European Union.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want an EU agency to advise on the technical, ethical, and regulatory issues around robotics, and a voluntary ethical code of conduct for those who design and work with robots. That code should include a requirement that designers put some kind of “kill” switch in their robots so that they can be shut down in an emergency.
That urgency, the MEPs said, is not so much because autonomous robots are likely to run amok any time soon, but rather that if the EU doesn’t move first, it will end up having to follow rules set by other countries.
Intriguingly, tax figures among the issues the MEPs want the Commission to take into consideration. For robots wanting the same rights as people, it could be a case of no representation without taxation.
The full Parliament will vote on the committee’s recommendation next month, but even if it agrees, the Commission is under no obligation to follow such a request for legislation.
The new pricing applies only to owners who purchase their electric vehicles after this Sunday. Those who bought vehicles before Jan. 15 will continue to receive free charging, the company said.
The company this week announced that its charging costs will vary from state to state and depend on which charging “tier” a driver is using. Tier 1 pricing, which applies to cars charging at or below 60 kW per minute, will cost half as much as cars using Tier 2 charging, which applies to cars charging above 60 kW per minute. In New York, Tier 2 charging will cost 20 cents a minute and in California, it will cost 19 cents.
Cars using fast charging or Tier 2 charging can attain about a half a full vehicle charge in 30 minutes — enough to travel up to 170 miles.
Tesla announced both kilowatt hour and by-minute pricing for its Supercharger stations, and said a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 380 miles) would cost about $15. (A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York — about 2,800 miles — would run around $120 in charging fees.)
Tier 1 pricing also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing Supercharger power with another car. Supercharger pricing information can be viewed on the vehicle’s 17-in. touchscreen.
Tesla Model S and Model X cars ordered after Jan. 15 will receive 400 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of their delivery.
“We carefully considered current Supercharger usage and found that 400 kWh covers the annual long-distance driving needs of the majority of our owners,” Tesla said in a blog. The company didn’t mention whether buyers of the Model 3 EV, due out in mid-2018, would also receive an annual free charging credit.
The Model 3 will be Tesla’s most affordable EV, with a starting price of about $35,000, and was originally slated to ship at the end of this year. Preorders for it have topped 400,000.
In North America, Tesla Supercharging pricing is fixed within each state or province. Internationally, pricing is fixed within each country, Tesla said.
When fully charged, the 85 kWh Model S sedan has a range of just over 300 miles, depending on road conditions and the speed at which it’s driven, according to Tesla.
“Where possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which is the most fair and simple method. In other areas, we bill for the service per minute,” the company explained on its website.
The fees for charging could provide Tesla with as much as $175 million in revenue just in this first year, according to Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research.
Japanese automaker Nissan said it will conduct its first European real-world trials of self-driving vehicles in London, choosing Britain just months after it said it would build two new models in the country despite concerns over Brexit.
The government has said it wants to encourage the development and testing of autonomous driving technology in Britain, helping build an industry to serve a worldwide market it reckons could be worth around 900 billion pounds ($1.1 trillion) by 2025.
On Friday Nissan said a modified version of its compact electric LEAF car equipped with autonomous driving technology will be tested in the capital next month, the first such demonstrations on European public roads.
In October the firm, which builds around a third of Britain’s total car output, said it would expand production at its plant in northeast England with what a source described as a government promise of extra support to counter any loss of competitiveness caused by Britain’s EU exit.
The drones, dubbed Perdix, operate as a swarm and are not individually pre-programmed. Instead, they act as a collective organism with one distributed brain for decision-making, the DOD said in a statement on Monday.
“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” says William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office of the DOD.
The drones are meant to be controlled in much the same manner as a coach would guide a sports team. The operator orders a broad objective, and the drones communally decide how best to execute the plan.
The latest test, initially documented on “60 Minutes,” took place at China Lake, California, in October. There were 103 mini remote-controlled vehicles launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Prior tests have also taken place in Alaska and Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.
The DOD says Perdix is in its sixth generation, with a seventh-generation model featuring more advanced autonomy in the works.
Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.
Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.
This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.
PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.
Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.
Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”
IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.
The families of three Americans murdered in ISIS terror attacks have filed suit against Twitter for allegedly knowingly providing support for the terrorist group and acting as a “powerful weapon for terrorism.”
The suit was filed over the weekend in a federal court in New York City on behalf of the relatives of three U.S. nationals who were killed by ISIS in the March 22, 2016, terrorist attacks in Brussels and the Nov. 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 32 people died in the Brussels attack and about 130 in the attack in Paris.
The suit alleges that Twitter has violated, and continues to violate, the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and monetary damages to be determined at trial.
“Twitter’s social media platform and services provide tremendous utility and value to ISIS as a tool to connect its members and to facilitate the terrorist group’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies,” the suit alleges. “ISIS has used Twitter to cultivate and maintain an image of brutality, to instill greater fear and intimidation, and to appear unstoppable …”
The lawsuit also contends that specifically for the Brussels and Paris attacks, ISIS used Twitter to issue threats, as well as to announce and celebrate the attacks.
The lawsuit was filed by the family of siblings Alexander Pinczowski and Sascha Pinczowski, who were killed in Brussels, and the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in Paris.
A bill has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before they dig into users’ emails and other communications in the cloud that are older than 180 days.
The Email Privacy Act, reintroduced on Monday, aims to fix a loophole in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows the government to search without a warrant email and other electronic communications that are older than 180 days and stored on servers of third-party service providers such as Google and Yahoo.
“Thanks to the wording in a more than 30-year-old law, the papers in your desk are better protected than the emails in your inbox,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation, digital rights organization, said in a blog post Monday.
The bill was passed by the House last year but stalled in the Senate. U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan) and Jared Polis (D-Colo) said they are reintroducing the legislation because the Senate failed to act on it before the 114th Congress came to a close.
Privacy groups and tech companies backed the legislation when it was first introduced. But it failed to clear the Senate as it was bogged down with amendments such as the requirement of mandatory compliance by service providers without court oversight when law enforcement claimed an emergency as an exception for asking for user data. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed an amendment that would expand the information that the FBI can obtain with a National Security letter without prior judicial oversight.
“Government access to communications without oversight of warrants is a dangerous path for any country that supports democratic values,” said Ed Black, CEO and president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, in a statement Monday.
“Rules on how the government can access electronic communications in criminal investigations have simply not kept up with advances in modern technology. Indeed, US law still treats data stored in the cloud differently than data stored on a local computer,” said Information Technology and Innovation Foundation vice president Daniel Castro in a statement.
Opposition to the bill came previously from a number of agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, which uses administrative subpoenas on service providers to work around people under investigation who don’t keep copies of incriminating mail after sending it or decline to share their content with the SEC.
LG says that all its products will ship with Wi-Fi connectivity from this year.
LG marketing VP David VanderWaal says that “starting this year” all of LG’s home appliances will feature “advanced Wi-Fi connectivity”.
One of the flagship appliances that will make good on this promise is the Smart Instaview Refrigerator, a webOS-powered Internet-connected fridge that among other things supports integration with Amazon’s Alexa service.
While this might be a good thing in cases of flagship devices but just sticking Wi-Fi in everything is going to create a security nightmare. After all how are LG or anyone planning to update their appliances? Most people who don’t use the Wi-Fi are never going to bother connecting to anything and that is just going to be an open port sitting waiting some hacker’s attention.
What is also a problem is that if your whole house gets a virus you are going to have a hell of a job finding out what the source was and what you are supposed to unplug.
Also, there is the small matter of some appliance makers might be a little naughty about using their smart devices to serve up ads or give audio or video recordings to law enforcement.
LG might be more likely than most to know what it is doing, but the life of a fridge or washing machine is a lot longer than a computer. Our fridge is 15 years old and works fine, what will be the state of computer security in 15 years’ time? Many are going to find that their fridge is running the security equivalent of Windows XP.
Online messaging and email services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Gmail will go up against tougher regulations on how they can track users under a new proposal presented by the European Union executive on Tuesday.
The web players will have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers’ conversations and ask for their consent before tracking them online to serve them personalized ads.
The proposal by the European Commission extends some rules that now only apply to telecom operators to web companies offering calls and messages using the internet, known as “Over-The-Top” (OTT) services, seeking to close a perceived regulatory gap between the telecoms industry and mainly U.S. Internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
The review of the so-called e-privacy law will also force web browsers to have their default setting as not allowing personalized online advertising based on browsing habits. Instead, users will be asked to opt in to allow websites to place cookies on their browsers.
“It’s up to our people to say yes or no,” said Andrus Ansip, Commission vice-president for the digital single market.
Cookies are placed on web surfers’ computers and contain bits of information about the user, such as what other sites they have visited or where they are logging in from. They are widely used by companies to deliver targeted ads to users.
Online adverstisers have warned that overly strict rules would undermine many websites’ ability to fund themselves and keep offering free services. They say the data they use can not identify the user and is therefore low risk, making asking for consent every time too onerous.
The proposal scraps the obligation on websites to ask visitors for permission to place cookies on their browsers via a banner every time they land on it if the user has already consented through the privacy settings of the web browser.
The “cookie banner” has been lambasted as ineffective because people tend to accept them without necessarily reading what that entails.
Companies falling foul of the new law will face fines of up to 4 percent of their global turnover, in line with a separate data protection law set to enter into force in 2018.
The proposal will need to be approved by the European Parliament and member states before becoming law.
While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.
According to web analytics vendor Net Applications, it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.
This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.
The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.
In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.
So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.
As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.
The venture capitalists divisions of Microsoft and Qualcomm have invested in Team8, an Israeli creator of cybersecurity start-ups, as big multinational companies back Israel’s burgeoning cyber industry in the face of growing threats.
Team8, which also announced on Monday a strategic partnership with Citi to help develop its products, said the most recent investment brings its total raised to more than $92 million.
Its other investors are Cisco, AT&T, Accenture, Nokia, Singapore’s Temasek, Japan’s Mitsui, Bessemer Venture Partners, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Marker LLC.
Israel has some 450 cyber start-ups, which receive 20 percent of global investment in the sector. Although the need for security is growing quickly, the proliferation of start-ups means that several companies compete in every subsector.
“A large part of companies created won’t get to the finish line,” Nadav Zafrir, Team8 chief executive and former commander of the Israeli army’s technology and intelligence unit 8200, told a news conference.
He said he believes Team8’s strong partners and its plan to build a portfolio of different technologies gives it an edge. Team8 confirmed that Microsoft had been an investor since last June.
“The expectation of our investors is to build independent companies that will lead their sectors,” he said.
Israel has a well established high tech industry, using skills of workers trained in the military and intelligence sectors. Tax breaks and government funding have encouraged start-ups, and also drawn in entrepreneurs from abroad.
Launched in 2014, Team8 employs 180 people in Israel, the United States, Britain and Singapore and plans to hire 100 more workers in 2017.
Two companies it created are Illusive Networks, which uses deception technology to detect attacks and has been installed at banks and retailers, and Claroty, which secures critical infrastructure sites such as oil and gas fields.
Details of two more companies it has set up will be announced this year, Zafrir said.
Companies ranging from appliance maker Whirlpool Corp to Ford Motor Co unveiled products featuring Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon that responds to voice commands.
Most strikingly, Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co, which manufactures smartphones running on the Android operating system produced by Alphabet Inc’s Google, announced that its flagship handset will come with an app that gives users access to Alexa in the United States.
Many in the technology industry believe that such voice-powered digital assistants will supplant keyboards and touch screens as a primary way consumers interact with devices.
While the shift is only in the early stages, Google must establish a strong presence quickly, particularly on Android devices, to maintain its dominance in internet search, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.
“To the extent that voice becomes more important and something other than Google’s voice assistant becomes the most popular voice interface on Android phones, that’s a huge loss for Google in terms of data gathering, training its AI (artificial intelligence), and ultimately the ability to drive advertising revenue,” he said.
Alexa debuted on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, and Amazon is establishing a broad array of hardware and software partnerships around it. The competing Google Assistant launched last year on the company’s Pixel smartphone, after appearing on Google’s messaging app, and has begun to roll out to third-party devices as well. Graphics processor maker Nvidia Corp announced at CES that its Shield television will feature the assistant.
While Google has expressed an interest in bringing its assistant to other Android smartphones, the decision to debut the feature on its own hardware may have strained relations with manufacturers, Dawson said.
“It highlights just what a strategic mistake it can be for services companies to make their own hardware and give it preferential access to new services,” he said.