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Electronic Signature Service DocuSign Reports Hacking

May 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Electronic signature service DocuSign revealed that hackers had temporarily gained access to a database that houses customer emails, which the company linked to a surge in phishing emails sent to its users.

The company said the emails imitated the DocuSign brand to trick recipients into opening a Microsoft Word document containing malicious software.

DocuSign’s service is widely used by big bank and insurers for keeping track of financial transactions, with 12 of the top 15 U.S. financial services companies using the company’s software.

The privately held company, valued at about $3 billion, makes software to add legally compliant electronic signatures to documents.

DocuSign said only email addresses were accessed. Names, physical addresses, passwords, social security numbers or credit card data were not accessed, the company said on its website.

San Francisco-based DocuSign said earlier this month that it was tracking the malicious e-mail campaign.

DocuSign has about 200 million users and has been embraced as a quick and secure way to sign contracts and other official documents using a finger on a mobile device.

Are eBooks Losing Steam In The U.K.?

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ebooks are dying out and are being replaced by the good old fashioned non-digital versions with a bit of spine.

Sales of consumer ebooks plunged 17 percent in the UK in 2016, according to the Publishers Association.

Sales of physical books and journals went up by seven percent over the same period, while children’s books surged 16 percent. The same trend is on display in the US, where ebook sales declined 18.7 percent over the first nine months of 2016.

According to the Association of American Publishers, paperback sales were up 7.5 percent over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1 percent.

Some of this might be due to the death of tablets and e-readers which turned out not to be the game changing hardware that the Tame Apple Press and Steve Jobs told us.

The Sales of e-readers have declined by more than 40 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International.

“E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiralled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note.

One of the things we have noticed in research book sales is that people are grabbing PDF versions of books and never reading them. But in any case, it does look like the traditional book has another few hundred years life left in it.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter, Bloomberg To Team Up On Streaming TV News Service

May 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc is teaming up with Bloomberg Media for a round-the-clock streaming television news service on the social networking platform, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The channel, which is yet to be named and is expected to begin operations this fall, would be announced Monday, WSJ said.

Twitter’s user growth has stalled in the past few quarters and the company has been trying to convince advertisers that it will strengthen its user base.

As part of its efforts, it has updated its product offerings including live video broadcasts from its app and launched new features to attract users.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in an internal memo last October one of the company’s missions was defined as being the “people’s news network”.

Twitter has made a push into news and sports on mobile devices last year and this foray could pique the interest of a media company as an acquirer, analysts have said.

Is Google Using Chromebooks To Spy On Kids?

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Human rights group, the  Electronic Freedom Foundation has complained that Google is continuing to use its Chromebooks to spy on customers.

The main issue, it seems, is the fact that the education system is changing the way it treats the students’ privacy, mostly due to a rollout of low-priced Chromebooks that come with educations services. Often, they are available for a reduced price or even given out for free.

“Educational technology services often collect far more information on kids than is necessary and store this information indefinitely. In fact, they tie personally identifying information, such as kids’ names, birthdays, browsing history, search terms, location data, contact lists, and behavioural information,” the EFF said.

Since most of those customers are under-age school kids, it appears that Google is rather a little too interested in knowing all about them.

The EFF first complained about Google two years ago, and since then, it claims the search engine outfit has not done much to improve its antics.

Now it says that Google still hasn’t shed its “bad guy” image when it comes to the data it collects on underage students.

The company continues to massively collect and store information on children without their consent or their parents’. Not even school administrators fully understand the extent of this operation.

According to the latest status report from the EFF, Google is trying to end students’ privacy without their parents notice or consent and “without a real choice to opt out.”

This, they say, is done via the Chromebooks Google is selling to schools across the United States. It is a shame really because Google’s number one rival for this market is Apple.

The EFF investigated 152 ed-tech services that survey respondents reported were in use in their classrooms. The findings weren’t too great, as most of these services had privacy policies lacking in encryption, data retention or data sharing rules.

One school Chromebook administrator  told the EFF that they’re “putting all [their] eggs in one basket that we’re not in control of. We don’t know where this student data is going.”

Courtesy-Fud

Is Toshiba Out Of The Woods?

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toshiba Corp’s shares finally recovered this week after Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that Apple is considering a multi-billion-dollar investment into the company’s semiconductor chip business.

Back in February, Toshiba revealed that it had been considering a split of its memory chip business into a separate company to help make up for a $6.56 billion write-down of its US nuclear equipment operations. In late December, the company’s shares fell more than 45 percent after revealing that it was balancing a four-part effort to get back to a profitable state.

The following month, Foxconn and TSMC both partnered up to place bids on shares of Toshiba’s memory business in an attempt to challenge Samsung’s dominance of the flash memory market. The collaboration team has been serious about its talks with Toshiba, but is not trying to force anything to happen.

Apple wants 20 percent stake in Toshiba’s chip business

Now, the latest reports from NHK suggests the fruit-themed toymaker also wants more than 20 percent stake in Toshiba’s chip business, while somehow convincing Toshiba to maintain partial stake and keep the business under US and Japanese regulations, according to anonymous sources. Without subverting existing negotiations, the Cupertino company has considered a plan where Foxconn would own around a 30 percent stake of the NAND flash business so as not to interrupt global market competition over Japan’s semiconductor industry.

Prior to Apple’s announcement, Toshiba has so far narrowed down the field of memory unit bidders to four companies, according to sources. They include Broadcom, SK Hynix, Foxconn, and Western Digital.

Attention is now on company auditor, Tokyo Stock Exchange

On Thursday, Toshiba’s shares were down 4.8 percent after declining as much as 8.1 percent during morning trade. Experts have cautioned that the company is now in a warning zone of losing its listed status on the stock exchange, as it faces increased financial risk at its Westinghouse nuclear subsidiary. According to Financial Times, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is now attempting to decide whether the company’s internal controls comply with its listing criteria. Toshiba has proposed several improvements following its $1.3 billion accounting scandal in 2015, but if they are deemed insufficient by the exchange, then its shares could be delisted and the company would ultimately transition into a private entity.

Besides the foreign investor lawsuit that arrived on behalf of its accounting malpractices, Toshiba’s accounts were notable in part because its independent auditor, PwC Aarata, did not certify their accuracy. One analyst at Citigroup claims that Toshiba’s disagreement with its auditor was likely to “heighten concern” about its shares being delisted. Robert Rostan, a former Deloitte auditor, says “It is extremely rare for an independent auditor to not sign off on a client’s accounts, let alone a public industrial giant like Toshiba.”

Despite the financial risk posed by its flagship nuclear projects, Toshiba insists everything on the balance sheets is under control. Aside from a very tangible delisting risk, it will be left to the mercy of Toshiba’s many financial creditors to garner up enough support in solidarity for the weathered company.

Courtesy-Fud

Does Spreadtrum’s Chip Really Have Intel Inside?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

China-based mobile chip vendor Spreadtrum has announced a new chip dubbed the SC9861G-IA, targeted at the “global mid-level and premium smartphone market”.

The chip is based around Intel’s Atom-based Airmont processor cores and it was made by Chipzilla using its 14-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.

Spreadtrum said the chip will go into mass production in the second quarter of 2017 which means we should see it in the shops in the second half of 2017.

One thing should be noted is that Intel is not involved in the branding at all. Spreadtrum is pitching it as being made by the Intel Custom Foundry (ICF) but other than that its name is off it.

Spreadtrum claims the Airmont CPU core inside the SC9861G-IA runs at 2GHz and it is unlikely to beat the Snapdragon 652 in per-core performance. Running on x86 make it less useful as a rival to ARM based chips. Intel’s mobile chips were not as bad as was claimed by the armies of Android fans, but it was not as robust, which is one of the reasons we suspect Intel pulled the plug on it.

There can be only one reason why a smartphone maker would opt for this chip and that is that it is considerably cheaper than the rivals.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Toshiba 1TB Flash Chip Make Waves?

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Troubled Japanese chipmaker Toshiba has begun shipping samples of its third-generation 3D NAND memory product.

The new 512 gigabit, 64-layer device has three-bit-per-cell triple-level cell (TLC) technology and will be part of Tosh’s BiCS FLASH product line. This technology will enable a 1-terabyte chip solution later this year. 

For those who came in late, BiCS FLASH is a 3D flash memory stacked cell structure.

Sample shipments of the new 512Gb devices have begun, with mass production scheduled for the second half of 2017.

The new flash memory product has 65 percent greater capacity than the previous generation technology, which used 48 layers of NAND flash cells.

In addition to the new 512Gb device, Toshiba’s BiCS FLASH lineup also includes a 64-layer 256Gb offering, which is currently in mass production.

According to Scott Nelson, senior vice president of TAEC’s memory business unit, “The introduction of our third generation BiCS FLASH coupled with the industry’s largest 1TB chip solution strongly reinforces Toshiba’s flash leadership position. These innovations underline our commitment to developing leading-edge memory solutions, and we will continue to advance our 3D technology to meet the ever-increasing storage market demand.”

The chip will be used in data centres but also consumer SSD products so it could be cheap enough to get into high-end gaming rigs.

This announcement comes as Toshiba talks about off-loading its lucrative SSD operations to pay for the accounting fiasco and the dodgy nuclear power plant deal it lost billions on.
A previous report about Western Digital, Foxxcon, SK Hynix and Micron Technology have now also thrown their hats in the ring to purchase a majority share in Toshiba’s memory spin-off.

Courtesy-Fud

Researchers Show How Heartbeats Can Be Used As Passwords

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Researchers at Binghamton State University in New York believes your heart could be the vital to your personal data. By measuring the electrical activity of the heart, researchers say they can encrypt patients’ health records.

The fundamental idea is this: In the future, all patients will be outfitted with a wearable device, which will continuously collect physiological data and transmit it to the patients’ doctors. Because electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are already collected for clinical diagnosis, the system would simply reuse the data during transmission, thus reducing the cost and computational power needed to create an encryption key from scratch.

“There have been so many mature encryption techniques available, but the problem is that those encryption techniques rely on some complicated arithmetic calculations and random key generations,” said Zhanpeng Jin, a co-author of the paper “A Robust and Reusable ECG-based Authentication and Data Encryption Scheme for eHealth Systems.”

Those encryption techniques can’t be “directly applied on the energy-hungry mobile and wearable devices,” Jin added. “If you apply those kinds of encryptions on top of the mobile device, then you can burn the battery very quickly.”

But there are drawbacks. According to Jin, one of the reasons ECG encryption has not been widely adopted is because it’s generally more sensitive and vulnerable to variations than some other biometric measures. For instance, your electrical activity could change depending on factors such as physical exertion and mental state. Other more permanent factors such as age and health can also have an effect.

“ECG itself cannot be used for a biometric authentication purpose alone, but it’s a very effective way as a secondary authentication,” Jin said.

While the technology for ECG encryption is already here, its adoption will depend on patients’ willingness to don wearables and on their comfort with constantly sharing their biometrics.

Will 5G Be A Game Changer?

January 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The maker of chips Qualcomm has issued a new report which identifies 5G as a significant technology worldwide game-changer.

Its new report, “The 5G Economy” looks at the potential economic and social impact of 5G around the world. The study was conducted jointly by research firms IHS Markit, PSB and leading economist Haas School of Business’s, and principal executive officer of the Berkeley Research Group (BRG). Professor David Teece. The 5G Economy includes an economic impact study and opinion research about the expectations for 5G among business and technology leaders carried out by PSB.

The combined findings of the study show how 5G will profoundly affect the global economy and that business decision makers in technology and other industries overwhelmingly believe in the transformational nature of 5G.

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that the researchers confirmed our strong belief that 5G will be a fundamental game changer.

“We have been hard at work helping create some of the key technologies and applications that will make 5G a reality, pushing the boundaries of LTE, collaborating with industry leaders, and spearheading the critical research behind the next-generation global wireless standard.”

The study indicates that 5G will catapult mobile into the exclusive realm of General Purpose Technologies, like electricity and the automobile, that provide the foundation for massive innovation, give rise to new industries and benefit entire economies.

This will happen as 5G advances mobile from a set of technologies connecting people to people and information to a unified fabric connecting people to everything.

Dr. Teece said he had spent many years studying the impact of general purposes technologies, and it’s clear that 5G will propel mobile into that category, assuring the technology’s long-term impact on society and continued growth for decades.

According to the study, in 2035, when 5G’s full economic benefit should be realized across the globe, a broad range of industries – from retail to education, transportation to entertainment, and everything in between – could produce up to $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G.

The 5G value chain will generate up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035, supporting as many as 22 million jobs. Over time, 5G will boost real global GDP growth by $3 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2020 to 2035, roughly the equivalent of adding an economy the size of India to the world in today’s dollars.

Complementing the economic study, polling research done by PSB confirms that business decision makers and opinion leaders around the globe expect 5G to bring widespread benefits for society and the economy overall, enabling new products and services, increasing productivity and allowing for new industries to emerge. Over 90 percent of the more than 3,500 respondents agreed that 5G will enable new products, services and use cases that have not been invented yet.

Courtesy-Fud

Symantec Finally Putting Security Into IoT

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Symantec has announced that it has come up with an IoT router which can secure your Internet of Things. 

Dubbed Norton Core, the device is a new app-enabled router that has built-in security to protect the entire home,. Symantec claims the device aims to keep safe up to 20 devices connected to it, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets or any internet-of-things devices, in real time.

The router gets regular updates on cyber-crime information and protection mechanisms to keep any device connected to it safe. In case an infected device is connected to the network, it can isolate it from the rest of your devices to prevent the spreading of the malware.

Router level security is not new but it is rarely seen at for home users

Via the mobile app, you can monitor the network and see a list of online threats that the router has blocked. It even shows you the current safety level of your home network. You can also use the app to pause the internet for any connected device and set a bed time, during which the broadband connection is turned off.

Norton Core is a compact dome-shaped device that measures just 6 by 6 by 5 inches (15 by 15 by 13 cm). It has a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 1MB of system memory and 4GB of flash memory. The router supports the latest 4×4 AC2600 Wi-Fi standard, with a top speed on the 5GHz band of 1.73 megabits per second and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Symantec says the Norton Core’s Wi-Fi can cover a home of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. It also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports for wired clients.

The Norton Core is now available for preorder at $200, with a regular price of $280, in either titanium gold or granite gray. The price includes one year of subscription to its security protection, called Norton Core Security Plus, after which the ongoing cost is $99 per year.

Courtesy-Fud 

Amazon Video Launches Worldwide, Challenges Netflix

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

amazon-prime-video-150x150Amazon.com Inc has officially rolled out its video-on-demand service, Prime Video, in nearly every country except China, coming into direct competition with video-streaming pioneer Netflix Inc .

Prime Video, home to popular shows such as “The Grand Tour”, “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle”, will now be bundled with Prime subscriptions in 19 countries including India, Canada and France.

In other new regions, Prime Video customers will have to pay $2.99 or 2.99 euros per month for the first six months, after which the price will be doubled to $5.99 or 5.99 euros.

Amazon has been spending heavily, sometimes at the cost of profits, on the creation and marketing of movies and TV shows.

The company hopes that people will sign up for its Prime service to watch these videos – and in turn buy more goods from its online store to make the annual subscription worth it.

The Prime Video launch comes almost a year after Netflix Inc went global with its video-streaming service – rolling it out in more than 130 countries with the notable exception of China.

Subscriptions for Netflix, known for shows such as “Stranger Things”, “Daredevil” and “Narcos”, start at $8.99.

Amazon Prime Video members can also access videos offline on mobile devices, a feature Netflix introduced late last month.

Will The U.S. IoT Have A Market Value Of One Half Billion By 2020?

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A report by a research company is predicting that the internet of things (IoT) revenues will soar to be worth $500 million in 2020 in the USA alone.

Navigant Research which created the forecast, said that the IoT market covers not just only devices but includes secure data networks, software and services. Casey Talon, a principal research analyst at Navigant said: “If utilities seize the opportunity, they can leverage this to enhance customer offerings and increase customer engagement.”

By this, Talon is suggesting that utilities haven’t got their act together yet and should get on with developing, acquiring or making partnerships so that they can provide IoT enabled managed services.

He said that IoT in the utility field has the ability to give customers manage their energy independent from their utility company and that means re-thinking of business models to grab market share.

Talon estimates too that by 2020 there will be 1.7 million customers for IoT offerings.

Courtesy-Fud

The NHTSA Wants To Block Mobile Apps From Drivers

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

distracted-driving-150x150The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new guidelines that is requesting automakers to create a way to block applications on smartphones or tablets that can distract drivers.

Currently no safety guidelines exist for mobile devices when they are used while driving, the NHTSA said.

The new guidelines, which were published last week and are in a comment period, instruct automakers to create a “Driver Mode” similar to Apple’s Airplane Mode on iPhones, which takes the smartphone offline.

The new guidelines are the latest effort by the federal government to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.

 In proposing the guidelines, the NHTSA pointed to a rise in U.S. traffic fatalities and injuries in the past two years, a good percentage of which can be connected to drivers who are distracted by mobile technology, it said.
In 2015, some 10% of the 35,092 U.S. traffic fatalities on record involved one or more distracted drivers, and those crashes resulted in 3,477 fatalities, an 8.8% increase from the 3,197 distracted-driving-related fatalities in 2014, according to the NHTSA.

Of the 5.6 million non-fatal, police-reported crashes in 2014 (the most recent year for which this data is available), 16% were distracted-driving-related crashes and resulted in 424,000 injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving activities to include using a cell phone, texting, and using in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) technologies such as navigation systems.

In 2013, the NHTSA published Phase 1 Driver Distraction Guidelines that focused on visual-manual interfaces of electronic devices installed as original equipment, such as infotainment centers.

Those phase 1 guidelines included a definition for distracted driving as any “single average glance” that takes a driver’s attention away from the roadway for more than two seconds or “where the sum of… individual glances” are 12 seconds or more while performing a testable task, such as selecting a song from a satellite radio station.

The Phase 1 guidelines recommended that interfaces and tasks determined to be more distracting than its specified levels should not be accessible to a driver on the road.

 

Symantec Agree To $2.3 Billion Acquisition Deal For LifeLock

November 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

symantec-150x150Symantec Corp announced plans to acquire U.S. identity theft protection services company LifeLock Inc  for $2.3 billion, in a deal that it hopes will prop up sales at its Norton cybersecurity unit.

Symantec’s security software often comes bundled with personal computers. As a result, the company has suffered as consumers use mobile devices more than traditional computers. While Norton remains profitable, its sales have been falling.

“(Norton) had been declining with the declines in PC market share. This acquisition brings $660 million in revenue to the consumer business and returns it to longer sustainable growth,” Symantec Chief Executive Greg Clark said in an interview.

Reuters was first to report earlier on Sunday that Symantec was in the lead to acquire LifeLock.

Symantec’s purchase of LifeLock is in line with its efforts to diversify its offerings. In August, it bought Blue Coat Inc, which helps firms maintain security over the internet, in a $4.65 billion deal. Clark previously held the top job at Blue Coat, and made the switch after the deal closed.

Based in Tempe, Arizona, LifeLock offers services such as monitoring new account openings and credit-related applications in order to alert consumers about unauthorized use of their identity. It also works with government agencies, merchants and creditors to remediate the impact of identity theft.

Fran Rosch, executive vice president of Norton Business Unit, said that Symantec had dabbled in identity security but had nowhere near Lifelock’s 4.4 million members.

“We had to extend our value proposition. It was a no brainer for us to get back to growth,” Rosch said.

Symantec expects to finance the transaction with cash on balance sheet and $750 million of new debt.

The Mountain View, California-based company has been moving away from what is sees as more commoditized services, selling its data storage business Veritas in January to private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for $7.4 billion. Technology-focused firm Silver Lake Partners has also made a $1 billion investment in the company in two parts this year.

Symantec said the LifeLock deal is not expected to have a material impact on its financial results next year, and reaffirmed its fiscal year 2017 and 2018 guidance. The deal also represents a victory for activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which had pushed LifeLock to explore its options.

WhatsApp Adds Full Encryption To Video Calls

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

whatsapp-logo-150x150One of the most popular means of communication, Facebook’s  WhatsApp, had included fully encrypted video calling to its messaging app as of Monday, a move that comes as privacy advocates worry about the potential for stepped-up government surveillance under a Trump administration.

WhatsApp, which boasts more than a billion users worldwide, adopted end-to-end encryption early this year, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to calls.

The new video calling service will thus provide another means for people to communicate without fear of eavesdropping though WhatsApp does retain other data such as an individual’s list of contacts.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said in an interview that video calls will be rolled out to 180 countries within hours after the feature is introduced at an event in India.

“We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want,” Koum said at the company’s unmarked Mountain View, California headquarters building. “We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.”

Koum told Reuters that improvements in phone cameras, battery life and bandwidth had made the service viable for a significant proportion of WhatsApp users, even those using inexpensive smartphones.

Apple Inc  offers its FaceTime video calls to iPhone users, and Microsoft Corp’s  Skype offers video calls on multiple platforms. But WhatsApp has built a massive installed base of mobile customers and has been steadily adding more features to what began as a simple chat applications.

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