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Russian Hacker Shares Millions Of Stolen Email Credentials

May 6, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Millions of stolen credentials for Gmail, Microsoft and Yahoo email accounts are being shared online by a young Russian hacker known as “the Collector” as part of a supposed larger trove of 1.17 billion records.

That’s according to Hold Security, which says it has looked at more than 272 million unique credentials so far, including 42.5 million it had never seen before. A majority of the accounts reportedly were stolen from users of Mail.ru, Russia’s most popular email service, but credentials for other services apparently were also included.

Hold discovered the breach when its researchers came across the hacker bragging in an online forum. Though the hacker initially asked Hold for 50 rubles for the initial 10GB stash — that’s equivalent to about 75 cents — he eventually turned it over to them in exchange for likes and votes for him on social media.

Some 40 million of the credentials came from Yahoo Mail, 33 million were from Microsoft Hotmail, roughly 24 million were from Gmail, and nearly 57 million were from Mail.ru, according to Reuters. Thousands of others came from employees of large U.S. companies in banking, manufacturing and retail, and hundreds of thousands more reportedly were from accounts at German and Chinese email providers.

In an email message, Google declined to comment on the incident but said users should establish a recovery phone number for their Google accounts.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Mail.ru did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Intel’s Chief Heading Up FAA’s Drone Advisory Panel

May 6, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The Federal Aviation Administration is forming an advisory committee, led by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, to guide it on the integration of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace.

The formation of the committee could link to plans by the FAA to finalize much-awaited rules for the commercial operation of drones, which will likely pave the way for the widespread use of the airborne devices for deliveries and other applications by companies like Amazon.com and Google.

“By late spring, we plan to finalize Part 107, our small UAS rule, which will allow for routine commercial drone operations,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a speech at a drone event on Wednesday. Huerta had said in January that the the rules would be finalized at the end of spring, but there has been skepticism as the process has been plagued by delays, including missing a September deadline mandated by the Congress.

Members of the new drone advisory committee will include representatives from a variety of organizations with interests in drones, including manufacturers and operators, application service providers, pilots, the FAA, NASA, representatives of manned aviation and the Department of Defense.

Unlike bodies like the UAS registration task force, which developed recommendations for the registration of UAS devices, and the micro UAS aviation rule-making committee set up recently by the FAA for a single purpose and limited duration, the new drone advisory committee is intended to be a long-lasting group that will essentially serve the same purpose as the FAA’s NextGen Advisory Committee, Huerta said.

Selections by the FAA of members of the advisory committee are expected to be made by May 31, the agency said. Huerta will be the designated federal official on the committee.

 

 

 

Google, Fiat Chrysler Turns Focus To Self-driving Minivans

May 5, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc’s Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV  have agreed to team up and build a fleet of 100 self-driving minivans, marking the first time that a Silicon Valley firm has teamed up with a traditional carmaker to develop an autonomous vehicle.

Google and Fiat said the deal announced on Tuesday was the first time Google has worked directly with an automaker “to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.”

The growing use of computing power in vehicles is paving the way for intelligent, self-driving cars, creating new rivalries and business opportunities for both technology companies and automakers.

Unlike its rival premium carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen unit Audi, cash-strapped Fiat Chrysler has decided to turn to an industry outsider to develop intelligent, self-driving cars, not having the resources to do the work alone.

Fiat Chrysler has a net debt pile of 6.6 billion euros ($7.6 billion) and Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has been trying unsuccessfully for more than a year to persuade rivals, including GM, to consider a merger to help spread the rising costs of research and development.

On Tuesday Google and Fiat Chrysler engineers said they will work together to fit Google’s autonomous driving technology into the Chrysler Pacifica minivans, working together at a facility in Southeast Michigan, where Fiat Chrysler has its major North American engineering center, the companies said.

Google has said that it does not want to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored alliances with auto companies, but none has been finalized. Working more closely with Fiat Chrysler could help Google refine its systems as a step towards offering them in regular production cars.

The deal does not preclude either FCA or Google from cooperating with others, and Google said it is not sharing with Fiat proprietary self-driving technology developed for another prototype vehicle.

Nonetheless Google said teaming up with Fiat Chrysler helps advance their expertise in the market for self driving cars.

“The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive,” John Krafcik, chief executive of the Google Self-Driving Car Project, said in a statement.

 

 

Amazon To Beef Up Alexa With Investment In TrackR

May 4, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc is investing between $250,000 and $500,000 in Bluetooth technology firm TrackR to expand the reach of its Alexa virtual assistant, according to a source familiar with the matter

Alexa is the cloud-based system that controls the Amazon Echo, a speaker system launched by Amazon in 2014 that has emerged as a surprise hit. “Alexa” is the name the device responds to when users make requests, such as “turn on radio.”

Amazon and TrackR declined to comment on the size of the investment.

Like Apple Inc’s  Siri and Google’s Google Now, Alexa is designed to answer questions or take other actions in response to simple voice queries.

Unlike its rivals, Amazon allows non-Amazon devices to integrate Alexa technology. The investment in TrackR came through Amazon’s $100 million “Alexa Fund,” which invests in and supports technologies that broaden Alexa’s abilities.

Santa Barbara, California-based TrackR uses Bluetooth technology to help track lost items. Users put a small chip on an item, such as a wallet or TV remote, and can order those products to make a sound through their phone so that they can be found.

If a TrackR customer loses an item out of Bluetooth reach, any TrackR user can connect to the device using the company’s network to alert the owner of the lost item.

The Alexa partnership will give the TrackR service a voice response capability and will also integrate in the other direction and enable people to find their lost items via the Echo.

“The ability to bring on more partners and realize that you are building an entire ecosystem – I think that is what was really important for us,” said Chris Herbert, who co-founded TrackR with friend Christian Smith in 2009.

TrackR raised $8.7 million last year in a Series A round led by Foundry Group.

Amazon has made roughly 15 investments so far through the Alexa Fund, including The Orange Chef, which helps connect kitchen prep devices, and Garageio, which makes a connected garage door opener.

 

Microsoft Makes Edge, Bing The Only Search Box Options For Cortana

May 3, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft began blocking competitor’s browsers and search providers from using Windows 10′s Cortana search box, the operating system’s prime search real estate.

“To ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box,” said Ryan Gavin, general manager of search marketing, in a post to a Microsoft company blog.

The Cortana search box — at the lower left of the Windows 10 desktop — relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Gavin defended the move by saying that “some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana.” When that happens, Gavin said, users get a “compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.”

While Gavin didn’t name names, Mozilla’s Firefox modified Windows 10 so that when that browser was made the operating system’s default, Firefox’s selected search provider generated results from in-Cortana queries, with the ensuing pages appearing in Firefox, not Edge. Other browsers, such as Google’s Chrome, did not go that far, but third-party extensions available in the Chrome Web Store did.

The changes won’t affect the basic functionality of non-Microsoft browsers, Gavin pledged: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and others will continue to work as before and will still default to their set search providers when queries are made from within those browsers.

But the Cortana search box is now Bing-and-Edge-only territory.

Microsoft has good reason for staking out Cortana as its exclusive turf, and not simply because of the disruption to Cortana’s delivery of personalized results that Gavin mentioned. The Redmond, Wash., company has bet that Windows 10 will generate revenue outside the traditional licensing fees that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) pay.

Not only does Microsoft want to push users toward Edge as much as possible, but it’s expecting new revenue from increased use of Bing, which is tightly integrated with Windows 10. The Cortana-Bing scenarios that Gavin cited — buying concert tickets, clothes and pizzas — presumably produce revenue for Microsoft.

 

 

 

Phishing Apps Continue To Play Google Play

May 3, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google’s attempts to safeguard the Android app store — Google Play — are far from perfect, with malicious apps routinely slipping through its review process. Such was the case for multiple phishing applications this year that posed as client apps for popular online payment services.

Researchers from security firm PhishLabs claim that they’ve found 11 such applications since the beginning of 2016 hosted on Google Play, most of them created by the same group of attackers.

The apps are simple, yet effective. They load Web pages containing log-in forms that look like the target companies’ websites. These pages are loaded from domain names registered by the attackers, but because they are loaded inside the apps, users don’t see their actual location.

In some cases attackers registered domain names that are similar to those of the impersonated online payment services, PhishLab Security Threat Analyst Joshua Shilko said in a blog post.

More recently, attackers used domain names similar to those of cryptocurrency companies, suggesting that the cryptocurrency industry is also targeted.

PhishLabs did not name the exact payment card companies and online payment services whose users were targeted by these fake apps. However, most of those companies provide links to their official mobile applications on their websites and users should always use those links instead of manually searching for them on the Play store.

“In one case, a targeted company explicitly states on their website that no mobile application exists for their company and that users should be wary of any mobile application using their brand,” Shilko said.

The danger is that if phishers manage to routinely bypass Google’s review process and upload such apps to the Google Play store, their attacks might extend to other industries in the future.

Another problem is that even when these apps are detected by third-parties and reported, it can take several days for Google to remove them from the app store, leaving a sufficiently large window of opportunity for attackers. It’s not clear how attackers promote these fake apps or if they rely only on users finding them themselves, but in general phishing attacks are most effective during the first several hours after they’re launched.

 

 

VeVo Hits 17 Billion While Calling Goof The Devil

May 3, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Vevo might be the new MTV for millennials, who might not know MTV that played music a few decades ago. Vevo CEO Erik Huggers had an interview at a Hunter Walk blog talking about YouTube, subscription base and the future.

Vevo CEO, ex Intel and ex BBC executive Erik Huggers mentioned that the Vevo will get a subscription based service but for the time being the company will stay with add supported content. Huggers first worked first on the iBBC player and later at Intel OnCue, then Verizon before getting the Vevo CEO.

The company has announced a new Apple TV, iOS and Android applications for people who like to watch the content on the TV console or their tablets and phones. Huggers mentioned that Vevo was getting 17 billion unique views per month. He said that if you are musician you will prefer Spotify for audio streaming and Vevo to YouTube, and here is why.

Peter Mensch, the manager of bands including Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse  told a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the music business:

“YouTube, they’re the devil. We don’t get paid at all.”

The BBC quoted him saying that YouTube was killing the record industry.

There is now way you can say it better than this, Mensch obviously knows what he is talking about. When we dug a bit deeper into the issue, bands have issues with complete albums being uploaded to YouTube. The big bands don’t get paid at all, at least according to Peter Mensch.

Vevo might turn its back to YouTube, despite its current business model where the company uses YouTube to distribute its videos. We see a big change coming. Artists are obviously not happy as people are ripping their stuff and not paying.

Online publishing was an area where big mistakes were made 20 + years ago. Online magazines usually rely on marketing, same as YouTube, but it seems that YouTube, Facebook and other big social based website make a lot of money and giving YouTubers and artists pennies.

Huggers believes Vevo can offer a tailored experience which is personalised for individuals who love music videos via various channels including Apple TV or mobile applications. Imagine if Vevo starts offering exclusive concert footage of your favourite bands, this would probably be worth of a few bucks a month, wouldn’t it?

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Motorola Going To Court?

May 2, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Lenovo owned Motorola has been slapped with a $5m class action lawsuit over allegations of shoddy customer service and not honoring warranty policies.

News of the lawsuit comes via Trusted Reviews, which learned this week that the complaint was filed against Motorola on 21 April in Illinois, accusing the company of “unfair, unscrupulous, immoral and oppressive” business practices.

The lawsuit’s main plaintiff, Douglas Lynch, decided to take legal action after a long-drawn out battle over a Moto 360 repair. He contacted Motorola for a replacement after the backplate of his smartwatch cracked, and was informed that a replacement would take four days to reach him.

The replacement failed to arrive, and Lynch was eventually sent a Moto 360 two months later that was a cheaper model than the one he had purchased.

Lynch isn’t alone in having a bad experience with Motorola. Girard Gibbs LLP, one of the law firms handling the case, told Trusted Reviews that Motorola owes “thousands of people” compensation.

This is evident on Reddit, where pissed off Motorola customers have flocked to tell similar stories.

One Redditor said:  ”I have had some of the worst support from them on my Moto G 3rd gen I bought last year.

“I tried to buy an extended warranty plan they supposedly offered, but their website was so jankedy that even after a few escalations over a FEW MONTHS to various higher ups in their support department with no resolution to the problem I finally just gave up and decided to never buy a Motorola phone again.”

Another added: “Wish someone would do the same in the UK as they wouldn’t replace my 6 month old 360 and I ended up having to pay about £120 to get it fixed when it was a hardware problem.”

Esfand Nafisi, an attorney at Girard Gibbs LLP, explained that the actual compensation owed is “likely higher” than the $5m referred to in the original filing, adding: “We want these issues to be resolved for all consumers.”

Motorola said in a statement: “Motorola has a long history of providing exceptional products and services to its customers. We are aware of the lawsuit, and are investigating the claims, which we believe to be without merit.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Will NASA Go OpenStack At JPL?

April 28, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has built a new private cloud based on Red Hat’s build of the OpenStack framework to fulfill the growing computing requirements of its space missions, such as the Mars rovers.

The move was announced to coincide with the OpenStack Summit, and means that NASA’s JPL has access to enterprise-scale computing resources that will enable researchers to tap into their own private cloud and maximise the organisation’s server and storage capacity to process flight projects and research data.

The new cloud has been built by JPL’s own engineers, but Red Hat said that its experience from long-term participation in the OpenStack Foundation and key upstream contributions to specific platform projects made it well suited as the partner for this collaboration.

The move is not NASA’s first involvement with OpenStack. In fact, the entire OpenStack project grew out of a collaboration between the space agency and hosting firm Rackspace to develop an open source cloud computing platform to help drive the administration’s next generation of projects.

Red Hat said that by using its Red Hat OpenStack Platform to build their private cloud, the JPL’s engineers managed to save significant time and resources by retooling and consolidating in-house hardware rather than procuring entirely new infrastructure.

“This is a testament to the reliability, availability and scalability offered by a fully open cloud infrastructure built on Red Hat OpenStack Platform. We are proud of the partnership with NASA JPL to meet their needs for an agile infrastructure to meet their projected growth, while helping to reduce the data centre footprint,” said Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat’s general manager for OpenStack.

Red Hat recently released the latest version of its platform, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8, as well as the Red Hat Cloud Suite which combines its OpenStack build with the OpenShift Enterprise platform-as-a-service layer for running container-based applications and services.

Courtesy-TheInq

Google Teams With Ford, Uber On Self-driving Car Coalition

April 27, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit, Ford Motor Co, Volvo Cars and two ride-sharing companies announced on Tuesday that they are forming a coalition to urge federal action on self-driving cars.

The coalition, which also includes Uber Technologies Inc  and Lyft, is “to work with lawmakers, regulators, and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.”

The group said David Strickland, the former top official of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will serve as the coalition’s counsel and spokesperson.

“The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards, and the coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles,” Strickland said in a statement.

Sweden-based Volvo Cars is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.

 

 

Sirin’s Ultra High-end Smartphone To Retail For $20,000

April 26, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A British-Israeli start-up is making plans to offer a mobile phone next month that will provide users unprecedented levels of technology and security — and retail for close to $20,000.

Sirin Labs AG said on Monday it had raised $72 million in private funds to launch the device, which would be aimed at executives. It plans to open its first store, in London’s Mayfair, in May.

“(Our) smartphone …brings the most advanced technology available – even if it is not commercially available – and combining it with almost military-grade security,” said Sirin co-founder and president Moshe Hogeg.

The phone will be based on the Android operating system and run otherwise unspecified technology two to three years in advance of the mass market, he said.

Hogeg told Reuters the phone would sell for less than $20,000.

He believes thousands of executives in the United States and Europe will pay that sort of price, since the cost of being hacked could be more expensive in terms of information lost.

Hogeg put the value of the global luxury phone market at about $1.1 billion, a fraction of total mobile phone sales. Most top end phones sold are more for status – regular phones with gold and diamonds.

Britain’s Vertu sells phones in that category from $10,000 to $300,000, while Apple’s iPhone 5 Black Diamond sold for $15.3 million.

Sirin’s financing came from Israeli venture capital fund Singulariteam – which Hogeg co-founded and included backing from Kazakh investor Kenges Rakishev – and Chinese social networking company Renren.

The idea for the start-up came about after Rakishev’s phone was hacked in 2013. He asked Hogeg why he couldn’t find a mobile phone that would ensure privacy and why new technology seen in tech shows and publications was not available in consumer devices.

“There were no good solutions that combined high-end technologies with maximum security,” Hogeg said.

 

Google Says A.I. Is The Next Big Thing In Computing

April 25, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Every decade or so, a new era of computing comes along that influences everything we do. Much of the 90s was about client-server and Windows PCs. By the aughts, the Web had taken over and every advertisement carried a URL. Then came the iPhone, and we’re in the midst of a decade defined by people tapping myopically into tiny screens.

So what comes next, when mobile gives way to something else? Mark Zuckerberg thinks it’s VR. There’s likely to be a lot of that, but there’s a more foundational technology that makes VR possible and permeates other areas besides.

“I do think in the long run we will evolve in computing from a mobile-first to an A.I.-first world,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, answering an analyst’s question during parent company Alphabet’s quarterly earnings call Thursday.

He’s not predicting that mobile will go away, of course, but that the breakthroughs of tomorrow will come via smarter uses of data rather than clever uses of mobile devices like those that brought us Uber and Instagram.

Forms of artificial intelligence are already being used to sort photographs, fight spam and steer self-driving cars. The latest trend is in bots, which use A.I. services on the back end to complete tasks automatically, like ordering flowers or booking a hotel.

Google believes it has a lead in A.I. and the related field of machine learning, which Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt has already pegged as key to Google’s future.

Machine learning is one of the ways Google hopes to distinguish its emerging cloud computing business from those of rivals like Amazon and Microsoft, Pichai said.

 

 

 

 

Google, Microsoft Drop Regulatory Complaints Against Each Other

April 25, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google have reached a deal to drop all the regulatory complaints against each other, the companies told Reuters.

“Microsoft has agreed to withdraw its regulatory complaints against Google, reflecting our changing legal priorities. We will continue to focus on competing vigorously for business and for customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.

Google, in a separate email, said the companies would want to compete vigorously based on the merits of their products, not in “legal proceedings”.

The companies in September agreed to bury all patent infringement litigations against each other, settling 18 cases in the United States and Germany.

“… Following our patent agreement, we’ve now agreed to withdraw regulatory complaints against one another,” Google said on Friday.

Google’s rivals had reached out to U.S. regulators alleging that the Internet services company unfairly uses its Android system to win online advertising, people with knowledge of matter told Reuters last year.

The European Commission also accused Google last year of distorting internet search results to favor its shopping service, harming both rivals and consumers.

 

EU Charges Google With Antitrust Violations Over Android OS

April 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

The European Union charged Google with abusing the dominant position of its Android mobile operating system, opening a second front against the U.S. technology giant that could lead to hefty fines.

European Union antitrust regulators said that by requiring mobile phone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser, the U.S. company was denying consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and stifling innovation.

Google is already facing EU charges over the promotion of its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services, in a case that has dragged on since late 2010 despite three attempts to resolve the issues.

The stakes are higher for Google in the Android case as it made about $11 billion last year from advertising sales on Android phones through its apps such as Maps, Search and Gmail, according to estimates by financial analyst Richard Windsor.

“A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” she said.

Internet Explorer-browser maker Microsoft Corp declined to comment.

Suppliers of browsers including Mozilla, which is behind Firefox, as well as Apple, with its Safari browser, and Norway’s Opera Software were not immediately available to comment.

The European Commission said about 80 percent of smart mobile devices in Europe and the world run on Android, the operating system developed by Google.

Google, which has 12 weeks to respond to the charges, said in a statement that Android was a remarkable system based on open-source software and open innovation.

“We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate that Android is good for competition and good for consumers,” Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said.

FairSearch, the lead complainant, said Google had launched Android as an open source project, but was now hindering the development of versions that might lead to new operating systems able to compete with Android.

The Commission alleges Google has breached EU antitrust rules by making phone manufacturers pre-install its search function and Chrome browser, and by preventing them from selling mobiles running competing operating systems based on the Android open source code.

 

Google Wins Approval To Test 3.5GHz Wireless Network

April 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google has received approval to  begin testing innovative 3.5 GHz wireless capabilities by using antennas on light poles and other structures in eight areas of Kansas City, Mo.

It will be the first large-scale test of its kind in the nation, following a framework created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a year ago for the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service, which uses 3.5GHz spectrum and allows for dynamic spectrum sharing.

The test could last up to 18 months and result in fast, short-range wireless connections to serve areas not reached by Google Fiber. FCC officials have called the 3.5GHz band the “innovation band,” noting it could evolve into a new flavor of Wi-Fi or even an LTE Unlicensed band.

The commercial potential for the 3.5GHz band is large, both for Google and for its customers. “Yes, 3.5GHz is pretty innovative and could help Google create a city wide broadband network in KC,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.

Google could use the service in many ways, although new smartphones and tablets would require 3.5GHz antennas for access to the band. However, a simple dongle inserted into a laptop’s USB port could provide a 3.5GHz antenna, Entner noted.

Theoretically, wireless speeds of up to 300Mbps could be supported, compared to many 4G LTE average speeds of just 10Mbps to 20Mbps, Entner said. The 3.5GHz spectrum could also be used by Internet of Things devices for wireless connections.

Google Fiber first installed 1Gbps Internet connections in homes in the Kansas City area in 2012 and now reaches businesses on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the metro area. Google won’t divulge how many subscribers it has.

“If Google is successful in the 3.5GHz test and goes on to provide commercial services, KC will become the most wirelessly connected gigabit region to benefit from new advanced wireless services,” Assistant City Manager Rick Usher said in an interview.