Chinese PC and mobile phone maker Lenovo Group Ltd acknowledged that its website was hacked, its second security blemish days after the U.S. government advised consumers to remove software called “Superfish” pre-installed on its laptops.
Hacking group Lizard Squad claimed credit for the attacks on microblogging service Twitter. Lenovo said attackers breached the domain name system associated with Lenovo and redirected visitors to lenovo.com to another address, while also intercepting internal company emails.
Lizard Squad posted an email exchange between Lenovo employees discussing Superfish. The software was at the center of public uproar in the United States last week when security researchers said they found it allowed hackers to impersonate banking websites and steal users’ credit card information.
In a statement issued in the United States on Wednesday night, Lenovo, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers, said it had restored its site to normal operations after several hours.
“We regret any inconvenience that our users may have if they are not able to access parts of our site at this time,” the company said. “We are actively reviewing our network security and will take appropriate steps to bolster our site and to protect the integrity of our users’ information.”
Lizard Squad has taken credit for several high-profile outages, including attacks that took down Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live network last month. Members of the group have not been identified.
Starting 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, visitors to the Lenovo website saw a slideshow of young people looking into webcams and the song “Breaking Free” from the movie “High School Musical” playing in the background, according to technology publication The Verge, which first reported the breach.
Although consumer data was not likely compromised by the Lizard Squad attack, the breach was the second security-related black eye for Lenovo in a matter of days.
The Anthem data breach may have exposed 78.8 million records, according to deeper analysis provided in an estimate by the health insurance company, but Anthem is still investigating exactly how many records hackers captured from a database.
Hackers accessed a database at Anthem that contained customer and employee records with names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and member IDs, the health insurance company said on Feb. 4. Some records included employment information and income levels, but no financial information was compromised, it said.
It marked one of the largest data breaches to affect the health care industry, adding to a string of recent attacks that have shaken large companies, including retailers Home Depot, Target and Michaels.
Anthem, formerly known as Wellpoint, runs health-care plans under the Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empire Blue Cross, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink, DeCare, HealthKeepers and Golden West brands.
Between 60 million and 70 million of the 78.8 million records belong to current or former Anthem members, the company said in a statement.
The remainder — between 8.8 million and 18.8 million — belong to non-Anthem members who used their insurance in a state where Anthem has operated over the last decade.
Anthem is still trying to identify those people who may have been affected. Part of the problem is that Anthem has found 14 million incomplete records that can’t be linked to a product or line of business. Those records lack data fields that could be used to identify members, though they probably are not active Anthem members.
No information has been formally released on who may have compromised the database. Security firm CrowdStrike, which is not involved in the investigation, said the attackers used infrastructure linked to a suspected China-based state-sponsored group known as Deep Panda.
It would appear that the world is rushing to Nvidia to buy its latest GPU at the expense of AMD.
According to the data, NVIDIA and AMD each took dramatic swings from Q4 of 2013 to Q4 of 2014 with Nvidia increasing its market share over AMD by 20 per cent and AMD’s market share has dropped from 35 per cent at the end of 2013 to just 24 per cent at the end of 2014.
Meanwhile, Nvidia has gonr from 64.9 per cent at the end of 2013 to 76 per cent at the end of 2014.
The report JPR’s AIB Report looks at computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics for desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments.
In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry using discrete chips and private high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
On a year-to-year basis, total AIB shipments during the quarter fell by 17.52 per cent , which is more than desktop PCs, which fell by 0.72 percent .
However, in spite of the overall decline, somewhat due to tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market.
The overall PC desktop market increased quarter-to-quarter including double-attach-the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics-and to a lesser extent, dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD’s Crossfire or Nvidia’s SLI technology.
The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs declined from a high of 63 per cent in Q1 2008 to 36 per cent this quarter.
So in other words It is also clear that the Radeon R9 285 release didn’t have the impact AMD had hoped and NVIDIA’s Maxwell GPUs, the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, GTX 970 and GTX 980 have impacted the market even more than expected.
This is ironic because the GTX 970 has been getting a lot of negative press with the memory issue and AMD makes some good gear, has better pricing and a team of PR and marketing folks that are talented and aggressive.
Lenovo and adware maker Superfish were subjected to more legal action as two new lawsuits were filed in California federal courts taking the firms to task for putting consumers at risk of hacker spying and information theft.
The two complaints — the second and third since the China-based computer OEM (original equipment manufacturer) admitted it had pre-loaded adware on its consumer PCs in the second half of 2014 — named both Lenovo and Superfish, and each lawsuit requested class-action status so that others could join the case.
Last week’s first lawsuit covered much of the same ground as the two lodged Monday.
David Hunter of North Carolina, the plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, alleged that Lenovo and Superfish violated the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other laws, and asked that the court force the firms to surrender any revenue generated by the sale of consumers’ browsing data and monies earned from the advertising produced by the adware.
Hunter said he bought a Lenovo Y50 laptop — one of dozens of models Lenovo said it had pre-installed Superfish on from September through December 2014 — via the OEM’s website in October.
In the second complaint, filed by Sterling International Consulting Group (SICG) of Statesville, NC, Lenovo and Superfish were charged with breaking the U.S. Wiretapping Act, state and federal anti-fraud regulations and other laws.
Of the two new complaints, Hunter’s was the more interesting as it relied not only on press reports about Superfish’s vulnerability and Lenovo’s actions both before and after last week’s explosion of information, but also dug a bit deeper and offered insights into the adware’s operation.
Lenovo today declined to respond to the new lawsuits, with its head of corporate communications, Brion Tingler, saying, “We do not comment on pending legal matters,” in an email.
Superfish also declined comment on the lawsuits’ specifics, like Lenovo citing the pending litigation. But in a statement, company CEO Adi Pinhas said, “Superfish takes these matters seriously and is reviewing the allegations in the complaints.”
Nearly half of all security breaches come from vulnerabilities that are between two and four years old, according to this year’s HP Cyber Risk Report entitled The Past Is Prologue.
The annual report found that the most prevalent problems came as a result of server misconfiguration, and that the primary causes of commonly exploited software vulnerabilities are defects, bugs and logic flaws.
But perhaps most disturbing of all was the news that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile malware have introduced a significant extra security risk.
The entire top 10 vulnerabilities exposed in 2014 came from code written years, and in some cases decades, previously.
The news comes in the same week that HP took a swipe at rival Lenovo for knowingly putting Superfish adware into its machines.
“Many of the biggest security risks are issues we’ve known about for decades, leaving organisations unnecessarily exposed,” said Art Gilliland, senior vice president and general manager for enterprise security products at HP.
“We can’t lose sight of defending against these known vulnerabilities by entrusting security to the next silver bullet technology. Rather, organisations must employ fundamental security tactics to address known vulnerabilities and, in turn, eliminate significant amounts of risk.”
The main recommendations of report are that network administrators should employ a comprehensive and timely patching strategy, perform regular penetration testing and variation of configurations, keep equipment up to date to mitigate risk, share collaboration and threat intelligence, and use complementary protection strategies.
The threat to security from the IoT is already well documented by HP, which released a study last summer revealing that 90 percent of IoT devices take at least one item of personal data and 60 percent are vulnerable to common security breaches.
The ARM mbed IoT Starter Kit — Ethernet Edition will allow users to make cloud-ready Internet of Things products that could receive or transmit data for analysis or alerts. The development kit will come with ARM’s mbed OS and connect into IBM’s BlueMix cloud, which will help in the development of applications and services.
The kit is for those with little to no experience in embedded or Web development. Prototype designs will guide enthusiasts through the process of making a device and connecting to IBM’s BlueMix cloud service.
The starter kit will get data from “the on board sensors into the IBM cloud within minutes of opening the box,” said the product page on ARM’s website.
ARM and IBM hope to cash in on the mass adoption of IOT, which has led to a mesh of interconnected devices used in smart homes, smart city implementations and enterprises. The devices, which could range from weather sensors to health devices, already number 1.2 billion, and could touch 5.4 billion by 2020, according to a recent study by Verizon.
The IOT market is currently fragmented with a wide variety of hardware, operating systems and communication standards in use. Through the developer kit, ARM and IBM want to bring a level of consistency in hardware and software across IOT devices. Beyond making it easier for devices to talk one another, the developer kit could make it easier to push or pull data out of a larger number of cloud services.
ARM didn’t provide details on the pricing or availability of the starter kit. The first devices resulting from the development kit are expected to be released later this year.
The new alert pops up in Chrome when a user aims the browser at a suspect site but before the domain is displayed. “The site ahead contains harmful programs,” the warning states.
Google emphasized tricksters that “harm your browsing experience,” and cited those that silently change the home page or drop unwanted ads onto pages in the warning’s text.
The company has long focused on those categories, and for obvious, if unstated, reasons. It would prefer that people — much less, shifty software — not alter the Chrome home page, which features the Google search engine, the Mountain View, Calif. firm’s primary revenue generator. Likewise, the last thing Google wants is to have adware, especially the most irritating, turn off everyone to all online advertising.
The new alert is only the latest in a line of warnings and more draconian moves Google has made since mid-2011, when the browser began blocking malware downloads. Google has gradually enhanced Chrome’s alert feature by expanding the download warnings to detect a wider range of malicious or deceitful programs, and using more assertive language in the alerts.
In January 2014, for example, Chrome 32 added threats that posed as legitimate software and tweaked with the browser’s settings to the unwanted list.
The browser’s malware blocking and suspect site warnings come from Google’s Safe Browsing API (application programming interface) and service; Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox also access parts of the API to warn their users of potentially dangerous websites.
Chrome 40, the browser’s current most-polished version, can be downloaded for Windows, OS X and Linux from Google’s website.
Google announced it has reached a deal with three of the country’s major cellular carriers to acquire “technology and capabilities” from Softcard, a competing mobile wallet app created jointly by the telecom operators. But the deal appears to be less about technology and more about branding.
The biggest immediate change is that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile will begin pre-installing Google Wallet on new Android smartphones later this year — something that had been blocked before in preference for the Softcard app.
At their heart, both apps are based on the same contactless payment technology as Apple Pay and a new generation of payment cards from banks and credit unions. They use NFC (near-field communication) to complete a transaction once a payment card or phone is brought within a few centimeters of a terminal.
Apple Pay brought the technology widespread recognition when it launched late last year, but Google Wallet has been around since 2011. However a lack of support from carriers, retailers, card issuers and Google itself had relegated the technology to the sidelines.
While Google Wallet and Apple Pay share a technology base, there are key differences in how they work. Perhaps the biggest is that in Google Wallet, all transactions are routed through Google before being charged to the customer’s credit card.
That gives Google even greater insight into the lives of its users. In contrast, Apple doesn’t see any details of purchases made on its system.
Getting the Google Wallet app in front of more consumers could help reduce confusion over the different brands — an important consideration when the biggest Android phone maker is making moves of its own in mobile payments.
ARM has joined forces with IBM to launch its Internet of Things (IoT) mbed Device Platform as a starter kit with cloud support, offering developer tools with cloud-based analytics.
ARM’s mbed tool was announced last year and is primarily an operating system built around open standards to “bring internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability into one integrated tool” and make IoT deployment faster and easier and thus speed up the creation of IoT-powered devices.
ARM has launched the mbed IoT Starter Kit – Ethernet Edition today to coincide with the opening of Embedded World in Nuremberg. Partnering with IBM means that ARM’s mbed tool can channel data from internet-connected devices directly into IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.
The IoT Starter Kit consists of an ARM mbed-enabled development board from Freescale, powered by an ARM Cortex-M4 based processor, together with a sensor IO application shield.
It also support standards such as Bluetooth Smart, 2G, 3G, LTE and CDMA cellular technologies, Thread, WiFi, and 802.15.4/6LoWPAN along with TLS/DTLS, CoAP, HTTP, MQTT and Lightweight M2M.
The mbed OS also features the mbed Device Server, a licensed software product that provides the server-side technologies to connect and manage devices in a more secure way. It also provides a bridge between the protocols designed for use on IoT devices and the APIs used by web developers.
“The combination of a secure sensor environment by ARM with cloud-based analytics, mobile and application resources from IBM will allow fast prototyping of new smart products and unique value-added services,” explained ARM.
Krisztian Flautner, general manager for IoT business at ARM, said that securely embedding connectivity into devices from the start will allow for cloud-connected products that are far more capable than we see today.
“Smart cities, businesses and homes capable of sharing rich information about their surroundings will be critical in unlocking the potential of IoT,” he said.
“The ARM IoT Starter Kit will accelerate the availability of connected devices by making product and service prototyping faster and easier.”
The first products developed using the kit are expected to enter the market later this year.
Future versions of the kit will run the new ARM mbed OS and use ARM mbed Device Server software to deliver a wider range of efficient security, communication and device management features.
Prototypes have been given to a few early adopters, including the Science and Technology Facilities Council which said that the kit and its connection to the IBM IoT Foundation will help businesses realise the value during the development and production phases of any venture.
The mbed software also comes with its own community, Mbed.org, a focus point for a more than 70,000 developers around the platform.
The website provides a database of hardware development kits, a repository for reusable software components, reference applications, documentation and web-based development tools. It is already up and running, ARM said.
Visa Europe has announced a new, more secure way for consumers to pay retailers usinng their mobile phones,a move that could set the stage for Apple’s Apple Pay and rival mobile payment services to be introduced into Europe in the coming months.
Visa Europe said on Tuesday it would introduce to member banks by mid-April a “tokenization” service which substitutes random numbers for a user’s credit card details when a merchant transmits transaction data, reducing the risk of online theft.
Similar security from Visa Inc ,the former parent of Visa Europe, and rival card issuers MasterCard and American Express has been key to the success of Apple Pay since it was introduced in the United States last year, according to industry experts.
Apple Pay allows iPhone users to store their credit card details on their phones, then pay at the tap of a button. In its first three months, more than $2 out of every $3 which U.S. consumers spent using speedy new “contactless” systems at the three major credit card networks was done via Apple Pay, the company said last month.
Visa Europe’s move is one of several new services the London-based credit card giant is unveiling as it battles to retain its role as a middleman connecting banks and consumers in a fast-moving payments landscape being shaken up by major technology firms including Apple, Google and eBay’s PayPal, as well as scores of ambitious start-ups.
These include a way for card customers to send money overseas to other Visa users via their social media profiles on sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Steve Perry, Visa Europe’s chief digital officer, said in an interview his association’s plan for secure credit card data transmission parallels what Visa Inc offers in the United States. But he declined to comment on whether Apple Pay had agreed to use his organization’s version in European markets.
Security vendor AVG has spotted a malicious program that fakes the sequence a user sees when they shut off their phone, giving it freedom to move around on the device and steal data.
When someone presses the power button on a device, a fake dialog box is shown. The malware then mimics the shutdown animation and appears to be off, AVG’s mobile malware research team said in a blog post.
“Although the screen is black, it is still on,” they said. “While the phone is in this state, the malware can make outgoing calls, take pictures and perform many other tasks without notifying the user.”
The malware requires an Android device to be “rooted,” or modified to allow deep access to its software. That may eliminate a lot of Android owners who don’t modify their phones.
But some vendors of Android phones ship their devices with that level of access, potentially making it easier for the malware to get onto a device.
This malware is unlikely to show up in Google’s Play Store, since Google tries to block applications that have malicious functions. But it could be a candidate for one of the many third-party app stores with looser restrictions.
The free app from Google Inc’s online video service will be available for download as of today, February 23rd, and will feature kid-friendly design, with big icons and minimal scrolling, according to details seen by Reuters.
The app, which will be separate from the mainstream YouTube mobile app, will also feature parental controls such as a timer that can be used to limit a child’s screen time.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the launch, saying the company is planning to announce the new app today at a children’s entertainment industry conference.
A YouTube spokeswoman confirmed the information.
In December, USA Today reported that Google was planning to roll out child-friendly versions of its most popular products in a bid to be “fun and safe for children.”
Internet companies such as Google and Facebook Inc do not offer their services to children under 13.
The partnership will investigate the suitability of ARM servers and look to improve the overall energy efficiency and performance of computing systems.
Lenovo is taking over from IBM in its relationship with the STFC on research projects since the Chinese company announced a $2.3bn buyout of IBM’s x86 server business last year.
The latest collaboration will see the STFC’s Hartree Centre deploy and test ARM-based server hardware from Lenovo to investigate whether it can meet the challenges faced by data centres after a boom in demand.
The Hartree Centre is a research collaboration between STFC’s Scientific Computing Department and the UK facility dedicated to high-performance computing (HPC).
Joining HP and Dell with their ARM-based system developments, Lenovo said that the project is seen as a long-term investment, and probably won’t lead to commercial ARM-based server offerings.
For this project, the Hartree Centre is researching the challenges of power consumption in computing and the performance effects of scale-out versus scale-up systems given a defined power budget.
Hartree will also develop software intellectual property and define best practice regarding ARM-based server deployments.
“While ARM technology has shown promise, the biggest hurdle to overcome is the build-out of an ecosystem to support a production environment,” Lenovo said.
“Traditional servers have standardised on a common foundation, then you stack on top different kinds of cards that give the server its personality for a certain workload, such as networking cards, security accelerators, field-programmable gate arrays or GPUs,” said Lenovo’s executive director for HPC, Scott Tease.
The problem with this approach is that the cost adds up, as it increases power consumption and often adds latency to applications, according to Lenovo.
“So what we’re trying to do is figure out if there is a better way to go, where we look at more workload-optimised systems where all the functionality is designed into the base of the system,” Tease explained.
As part of this collaboration, Lenovo is developing an ARM-based server prototype as an extension to its popular NextScale dense computing platform.
Given its open and flexible design, NextScale solutions are used in HPC, grid deployments, analytics workloads, and large-scale cloud and virtualisation infrastructures.
The NextScale ARM server will be based on the Cavium ThunderX SoC, which has a full range of capabilities to help minimise cost and power consumption.
The NextScale enclosure is designed to optimise density and performance while fitting in a standard 19in rack, and can hold up to 12 ARM-based servers, delivering 1,152 cores while occupying only 6U of rack space, Lenovo said.
“What you can do with that is connect the nodes together in a mesh topology that allows for node-to-node communication without the need for any switching at the top of the rack,” Tease explained.
Lenovo and the STFC are looking at applications including cloud, search and web serving and caching, plus HPC.
“The reason we selected these is because they all have similar technical requirements, they are all looking for good energy efficiency, and users are looking for the best cost for the level of performance,” Tease said.
Today the company is hosting its first-ever mobile developer conference. The daylong event in San Francisco shows the company wants to develop lucrative relationships with developers and put mobile at the center of its turnaround effort.
The event will feature talks by top Yahoo executives, including CEO Marissa Mayer, and deep dives into Yahoo’s technology services for mobile apps. A critical part of those services is Flurry, a mobile analytics and advertising company Yahoo acquired last year. Flurry tracks more than 600,000 apps worldwide, providing information on app performance and users that can aid in ad targeting.
Yahoo needs that data to kickstart its sluggish ad business, especially on mobile devices.
During the show, Yahoo executives will try to sell third-party developers on the value of using Flurry. They will also promote Yahoo Gemini, the company’s platform for mobile advertising, and BrightRoll, a digital video advertising platform the company also acquired last year.
It’s a multi-pronged strategy, and the pieces are still coming together. But by encouraging more outside developers to use Yahoo’s services, Yahoo hopes to gain valuable information about how people use mobile apps.
That information could help Yahoo do its job. “We can help advertisers find the right audience they’re looking for, target the ads they want to target, using strong data from Yahoo, and find users wherever they are, on or off Yahoo,” Mayer said last week during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.
And if Yahoo can freshen its appeal to outside software developers and build new partnerships with them, then all the better.
“Yahoo is working on their own apps, but they will be able to extend their reach and their advertising inventory by getting outside developers into the fold,” said Karsten Weide, an industry analyst at IDC who studies consumer apps and platforms.
A leaked report has revealed how Intel is convincing its own staff of its Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and data analytics.
Apparently Intel wants to eat its own dog food to reduce costs, improve inefficiencies and boost performance, a major internal report has revealed.
Intel IT supports over 106,000 employees in 66 countries, and the report is an intriguing look into how a technology giant tackles the same challenges and opportunities facing the customers and markets it serves.
The report explained that the company has fitted sensors in different environments, such as production and manufacturing facilities, to improve performance and efficiency.
“Collection and analysis of pressure variation using the Intel IoT Gateway enabled yield improvement in one manufacturing operation,” the report notes.
“In another use case, predictive triggers for electromechanical parts failure in complex test equipment helped to improve output and yield.”
A third project involves using wireless IoT sensors at Intel’s data centers to gather information on humidity, power demand, water temperature and air pressure.
“Data analysis identified non-intuitive changes to our existing room power, space and cooling infrastructure, enabling us to design a free-cooling data centre with an averagepower usage effectiveness of 1.07, cutting annual power costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the report said.
The report revealed that 85 percent of all new services installed for the company’s Office, Enterprise and Services divisions are hosted in the cloud.
“We attribute the success of our private cloud to implementing a provider-like cloud hosting strategy, advancing self-service infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, and enabling cloud-aware applications,” the report said.
“Our private cloud saves about $7.5m annually while supporting an increase of 17 percent in operating system instances in the environment.”