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Did The Equifax Breach Impact More People Than Originally Estimated

February 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The mega-hack on credit reporting outfit Equifax may have exposed more data than first believed, or, at least, more than the firm admitted at the time.

Last year, hackers were able to compromise the credit agency’s systems and gain access to the personal information of up to 145 million Americans, as well as around 15 million Brits.

They were able to steal social security numbers, driving licence numbers, addresses and dates of birth – everything required to perpetrate identity theft. But now, the Wall Street Journal reports, it is feared that the hackers plundered even more data than the company publicly admitted. 

New congressional documents show that the crooks also made off with tax identification numbers, issuance dates, email addresses and driver licence states.

Using this data, it is now easier than before for criminals to use victim’s identities to apply for credit cards and to commit other types of identity fraud, using information that the victims never even consented to share with the company.

On Friday, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to Equifax slamming the company for providing “incomplete, confusing and contradictory statements” in the aftermath of the hack.

In a letter published on Friday, Warren briefed acting CEO Paulino do Rego on her investigation. She accused the company of failing to disclose the complete picture of the attack. 

The US Senator has also lashed out at the company in a series of tweets. In one, she said: “In October, when I asked the CEO about the precise extent of the breach, he couldn’t give me a straight answer. So for five months, I investigated it myself.”

Another read:  “My investigation revealed the depth of the breach and cover-up at Equifax. And since I published the report, Equifax has confirmed it is even worse than they told us.”

Responding to the reports, a spokesperson for the firm branded the claims as “extremely misleading”. But they admitted that more data had been leaked than the company had initially let on. 

It is not the first time that Equifax has been accused of failing to tell the whole truth about the data breach. It initially claimed that only around 400,000 British people’s details were compromised and that very little personal information had been lost. It later had to up that number to more than 15 million.

Courtesy-TheInq

Google Discontinue ‘View Images’ Feature In Searches

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google has nixed its “view image” button following criticism from Getty Images.

In 2016, the stock- and news-photo service complained to the European Commission that Google’s image search made it too easy for people to find and use images from Getty without proper attribution.

In response and as part of a new agreement between the two companies announced last week, Google has made it harder to save pictures from the search engine by removing certain features, including a button that allows people to view an image in isolation and a “search by image” button.

“Today we’re launching some changes on Google Images to help connect users and useful websites. This will include removing the View Image button. The Visit button remains, so users can see images in the context of the web pages they’re on,” Google’s said.

However, not everyone is okay with the tweak, and many are using Twitter to vent their anger.

Getty, by contrast, is relieved. “This agreement between Getty Images and Google sets the stage for a very productive, collaborative relationship between our companies,” Dawn Airey, CEO of Getty Images, said in a statement.

HP Adds Apple Devices To Managed Services Offerings

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

As part of HP’s updated DaaS offering, known more generally under the industry term of managed mobility services (MMS), customers will be able to pair iPhones, iPads, Macs and other Apple devices with HP’s support, managed services and analytics.

Apple for years pushed, without much success, to get its hardware and software into the office. But the organic adoption of its iOS devices – especially the iPhone – finally forced enterprises to take it seriously.

In the past year, 82% of the work done on mobile devices in the enterprise was performed using iOS; the remaining 18% of mobile activities were done on Android devices, according to new research from file synchronization software vendor Egnyte.

While Windows continues to dominate the desktop with 75% of enterprise transactions, Apple’s desktop macOS still takes a healthy 25%, according to Egnyte.

To date, most of the growth in MMS has been around PC as a Service.

“HP helped pioneer it, and other PC vendors such as Dell and Lenovo as well as other service providers have been pushing hard, too,” according to Tom Mainelli, IDC’s vice president of Devices and AR/VR. “Now we see the market evolving to include additional devices such as smartphones and tablets. HP’s move to offer Apple hardware is a very interesting one. It’s smart because they know that iOS devices are often the de facto standard within companies. So I’d say they’re ahead of the curve in offering iOS, and it gives them a strong position in the market.”

Until now, HP had not supported any other mobile devices except its own HP Elite x3. “The HP DaaS offerings have evolved over the past couple of years as we continue to address customer demand for new ways to manage the expansion of device types and operating systems across their workforce,” said Michael Park, HP’s general manager of Emerging Compute Solutions.

WhatsApp Moving Forward With ‘Full Feature’ Money Transfer Service

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

WhatsApp plans to roll out a “full feature” inter-bank money transfer service in India, its biggest market, after a test involving a million users, National Payments Corp of India said.

Friday’s statement marks the de facto official launch of WhatsApp’s new service as NPCI is the body set up by the central bank and lenders to oversee payment services.

WhatsApp launched a limited service in India, where it has more than 200 million users, last week. This uses customers’ phone numbers linked to bank accounts to facilitate payments and marks the first global foray into money transfers by the Facebook-owned firm.

Four banks will join United Payments Interface (UPI) – which powers the payments service – for WhatsApp, NPCI said. At present, India’s third-biggest lender ICICI Bank processes the fund transfers on WhatsApp, the application shows.

WhatsApp’s popularity in India is likely to pose a threat to established players, but it is entering a competitive market after Alphabet Inc’s Google launched a payments app last year to compete with local players.

The country’s cashless economy got a boost after Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned old high-value currency notes in late 2016, leading to a surge in online payment providers such as homegrown player Paytm, the biggest in India.

Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba and SoftBank expressed concerns about the security of WhatsApp’s new payments service in a statement released on Friday.

Can Any Version Of Windows Get Hacked

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Remember those leaked NSA tools?  Well, they can now hack any version of Windows, not just the old version of Microsoft’s operating system.

Researcher Sean Dillon from cybersecurity firm RiskSense tweaked the source code of three nicked NSA exploits – EternalSynergy, EternalChampion and EternalRomance – to work against Windows versions dating back as far as Windows 2000.

Going by the name of ‘zerosum0x0’ on GitHub and Twitter (hat tip to Betanews for that), Dillon noted his modifications to the code exploits the CVE-2017-0143 and CVE-2017-0146 vulnerabilities in numerous versions of unpatched Windows OS.

While other leaked hacking tools like EternalBlue have been attributed to facilitating the likes of WannaCry and NotPetya, which affected systems running older versions of Windows like Windows 7, the modified exploits can be used against Windows 10 builds.

Windows 10 was originally thought to be immune to the stolen NSA tools leaked by hacker group Shadow Brokers. But unpatched versions of Redmond’s latest OS appear to be vulnerable to attacks that make use of the modified code, not that any have been reported out in the wild.

Naturally, ensuring Windows 10 is up-to-date and patched should make any systems running the software immune to the modified hacking tools. But older versions of Windows that are no longer supported by Microsoft could face attacks that put the modified NSA exploits to use if the operating systems are not updated with patches Redmond pushed out in March 2017.

Plonking his modified code on GitHub with the disclaimer that it’s intended for academic research and the development of cyber defences, Dillon said: “This module is highly reliable and preferred over EternalBlue where a Named Pipe is accessible for anonymous logins (generally, everything pre-Vista, and relatively common for domain computers in the wild).”

The trio of modified exploits also boast remote control and code execution features that could be used to wreak havoc on compromised machines.

If you’ve kept up with patches for more recent versions of Windows, then you should be safe from the exploits.

For companies with large and complex IT estates that aren’t all running the latest software, such modified exploits could cause a headache. Either way, such tweaks to the modified NSA tools show that the Eternal family of exploits is still have some life left into them; jeez, thanks for that NSA.

Courtesy-TheInq

Nokia And Qualcomm 5G Trials Moving In The Right Direction

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nokia and Qualcomm have completed interoperability testing in the 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz spectrum compliant with the global 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 standard using the commercially available Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm Technologies.

Focusing on the commercialization of 5G technology, with New Radio as its foundation, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies testing at Nokia’s 5G center of excellence in Oulu, Finland, will provide the basis for 5G NR field trials with operators in 2018.

Nokia, Qualcomm Technologies and operators* including BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia and Vodafone Group are already committed to working together in verifying and trialing 5G NR technology. This will be based on the successful interoperability tests of the flexible 5G NR interface from Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies which will support a wide array of 5G services and various deployment scenarios.

In line with Qualcomm Technologies and Nokia’s announcement in September 2017 to collaborate on 5G NR and with the success of these recent tests, Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies continue working closely in driving the industry, leading to wide-scale 5G deployments in 2019 based on 3GPP standard-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices. This will enable timely commercial network launches in 2019, in particular in the United States, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks, Nokia said: “These tests by Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies are important to the progress of 5G. Importantly, they demonstrate how we have quickly applied the 3GPP Release 15 specifications that were set in December and using our AirScale base station – which has been shipped to more than 100 customers – together with a prototype Qualcomm Technologies UE. Now, we can look forward to commencing standards-based, over-the-air 5G NR trials with operators.”

Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated, said, “The successful completion of an end-to-end interoperable connection based on the global 5G NR standard is a significant step on the path to launching 5G NR commercial networks and devices starting in 2019. We look forward to furthering collaboration on standard-compliant field trials with Nokia and global operators on the path to commercialisation.”

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Faces Legal Issues Over Spectre and Meltdown Bugs

February 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has been sued by a company because of the way it handled the Spectre and Meltdown bugs.

It is not exactly because of the flaws, but because of the speed at which AMD said that it was not in trouble because its chips did not suffer from the bugs.

Rosen Law Firm is a global investor rights firm, where a class action lawsuit has been kicked off on “behalf of purchasers of the securities of Advanced Micro Devices”. The lawsuit details:

“Defendants during the Class Period made materially false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) a fundamental security flaw in Advanced Micro’s processor chips renders them susceptible to hacking; and (2) as a result, Advanced Micro’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages”.

So AMD is in deep trouble over saying: “To be clear, the security research team identified three variants targeting speculative execution. The threat and the response to the three variants differ by microprocessor company, and AMD is not susceptible to all three variants. Due to differences in AMD’s architecture, we believe there is a near zero risk to AMD processors currently. We expect the security research to be published later today and will provide further updates at that time”.

AMD boldly splitting infinitives which had not been split before said the allegations were without merit and it intends to “vigorously defend against these baseless claims”.

AMD’s current CPUs, Zen core-based products, are entirely immune to Meltdown. Type 2 Spectre attacks that work on AMD hardware are tricky to carry out and need a different set of code for the “same” attack on a different device. AMD Type 1 attacks will not work on Intel or ARM hardware because of implementation differences, and the converse is true too. This means hackers would have to tailor their malware to not just the Type 1/2/3 attack but also for the specific hardware.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Already Increasing The Price Of YouTube TV

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Alphabet Inc’s Google is increasing the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League, and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday.

Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $40 per month from $35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN, and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.

Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirectTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are canceling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online.

The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017.

DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017.

The costs for these competing offerings range from $20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to $39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $7.99 separately.

Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV.

“Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said.

To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads.

When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said.

At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said.

The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said.

Google Shipped Nearly 4M Pixel Phones, Analyst Says

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Google won’t reveal the number of Pixel phones it shipped in 2017, but one analyst from the research firm IDC has a number: 3.9 million.

The analyst, IDC Research Director Francisco Jeronimo, said the figure includes both generations of the phone, the Pixel 1 and 2. For comparison, it’s a “tiny portion” compared with the entire 1.5 billion market size for smartphones altogether, Jeronimo said. And it’s just a sliver compared with the 77.3 million iPhones Apple sold in the last quarter alone.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Though the numbers are small, the good news for Google is that they’re growing. Jeronimo said Google doubled its Pixel sales in the last year.

Google debuted the Pixel, the search giant’s first branded phone, in October 2016, and unveiled the second generation of the device exactly one year later. The company has made a serious investment in hardware. In 2016, Google brought in former Motorola executive Rick Osterloh to lead its hardware division, which includes its Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices and Google Wi-Fi routers.

The company also said last year it made a $1 billion investment in hardware maker HTC to bring to Google 2,000 engineers, many of whom worked on the Pixel. And the search giant’s hardware division keeps growing. Last week, Google said it’s folding Nest, the smart device maker, into the Google hardware team, after Nest was spun out into a separate company under Google’s parent Alphabet in 2015.

Will Qualcomm Succumb To Broadcom Higher Bid

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Broadcom plans to unveil a new $120 billion offer for Qualcomm to pressure the US rival to the negotiating table.

The move comes ahead of a Qualcomm shareholder meeting scheduled for March 6, when Broadcom is seeking to replace Qualcomm’s board of directors by nominating its own slate for election.

Broadcom is scheduled to meet with its advisers later to finalize an offer that values Qualcomm between $80 and $82 per share, two of the sources said. Broadcom’s previous $70 per share offer consisted of $60 per share in cash and $10 per share in stock.

Broadcom plans to offer Qualcomm a higher-than-usual breakup fee in the event regulators thwart the deal, according to the sources. Typically, such break-up fees equate to approximately three percent to foue percent of a deal’s size.

All this is off the record and Broadcom Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan may decide to significantly change the terms at the last minute.

Broadcom has said it is very confident a deal can be completed within a year of signing an agreement. Qualcomm has said that the regulatory review processes required around the world would take more than 18 months and be fraught with risks. Already Chinese companies have dropped hints to their politicians that they will be in trouble dealing if such a super company is formed.

Qualcomm has told its shareholders that Broadcom’s hostile bid is aimed at acquiring the company on the cheap.

Qualcomm reported quarterly profit and revenues last week that beat analysts’ expectations as demand surged for its chips used in smartphones and cars.

Qualcomm is also trying to clinch an acquisition of its own, proposing to buy NXP Semiconductors NV for $38 billion. The deal was approved by European Union antitrust regulators last month, and only China has yet to approve it. Qualcomm expects the government’s blessing later this month.
The NXP deal still faces an uncertain future as some of its shareholders, including activist hedge fund Elliott Management, have asked Qualcomm to raise its offer. Qualcomm is expected to decide later this month.

Courtesy-Fud

OLED Display Maker eMagin Gets $10M Boost From Apple, LG

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

A small firm that produces OLED microdisplays is getting some attention from tech giants with big plans for virtual and augmented reality.

Apple, LG and Valve are making a $10 million investment in eMagin, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hopewell Junction, New York-based company makes microdisplays used in the military, medical and industrial fields, but it has recently turned its attention to companies building consumer headsets.

“We entered into strategic agreements with multiple Tier One consumer product companies for the design and development of microdisplays for consumer head-mounted devices and, together with these companies, negotiated with mass production manufacturers for higher volume production capabilities,” eMagin said in its filing.

The company’s flagship product is a 2K display with a resolution of 2,048 by 2,048 pixels and a 70 percent fill factor, the percentage of each pixel that can be used to gather light.

The investment, made in the form of a new stock issuance, was expected to be completed before the end of January, according to the filing.

The investment underscores the tech community’s commitment to virtual reality, which promises to transport goggle-wearing users to a computer-generated 3D environment. Augmented reality, meanwhile, overlays digital images on the real world via special headsets.

Apple amped up its AR play in January when it released its ARKit 1.5 to developers. The software, which is part of the upcoming iOS 11.3 release, will pack new features to enable richer apps, including the ability to places items on vertical walls and doors, not just horizontal surfaces like tables.

LG and Valve have also partnered on developing a VR head-mounted display.

Apple and eMagin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook Testing ‘Downvote’ Button

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It’s probably the easiest ways to express your opinion: like or dislike.

Yet for a more than a decade, Facebook only offered the happier option, the thumbs-up. That’s about to change.

The social networking giant is testing a new feature that lets some people register a negative reaction to comments with a button called “downvote.”

The goal, Facebook said, is to allow people to weigh in on comments people leave on public pages, like those for President Donald Trump. When selected, the button offers reporting options like “offensive,” “misleading” and “off topic.”

“We are not testing a dislike button,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts.”

Facebook is currently only testing this feature in the US, with a small number of people using its app on Android-powered phones.

The move marks yet another way Facebook is hoping to spur more interaction on its site, and keep its users happy. Offering easy ways for people to mark comments as “offensive” and “misleading” may help quell users’ concerns about harassment, as well as the impact of Russian propagandists who used the site to spread misleading information during the 2016 election.

Facebook’s efforts also answer people’s long-running response to the company’s mascot, the thumbs-up “like” button, which was rolled out in 2009. While the “like” feature allows users to express their approval over a post or a photo, some people complained it was too limiting.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” said Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A session in 2015. He said he realizes people may not want to “like” a current event such as the Syrian refugee crisis or a family member passing away. But at the time, he didn’t want users to merely vote up or down on people’s posts.

The answer was a set of emojis, which the company released in 2016. The reactions expanded options to a laughing face, an angry face, a “wow,” a sad face and a heart. “It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that’s that simple,” Zuckerberg said when announcing the initiative.

Unlike the “like” button or “reactions,” the downvote button isn’t about giving feedback to commenters but rather to Facebook. The intention is to give users a way to flag inappropriate, uncivil or misleading comments, Facebook said.

It doesn’t affect a comment’s ranking, and users won’t even see how many people downvoted a comment.

Facebook said there are currently no plans to expand the feature.

Nintendo To Push Mario Kart To Mobile Devices

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Now that Nintendo has already released hits such as Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run on both iOS and Android, it’s chose to bring its signature death race to the market. Nintendo has teased the next installment of its mobile market takeover: Mario Kart Tour.

After a very successful 3rd quarter Nintendo already appears to be revving up for the next fiscal year. The Japanese giant of gaming has not given us a lot to go on, but we have a title, a franchise, and a date.
Nintendo plans to release its mobile Motorsport mania sometime between April 1st, 2018 and March 31st, 2019. While that may be a rather large window of time, the prospect of having the mustachioed mascot motoring on your mobile devices within the next fiscal year ought to have some fans chomping at the bit.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Watch Sets Record For Shipped Devices

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The electronics giant, Apple, has shipped 8 million Apple Watches in the fourth quarter of 2017, Canalys research shows, which the firm said is a record for wearables sold by a company during a quarter. Fitbit was the previous record holder, Canalys told CNET, shipping 6.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Apple has won the wearables game,” said Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys. The company shipped 18 million Watch devices throughout 2017, a 54 percent increase on 2016.

While Android Wear competitors, like the Samsung Gear S3 and Huawei’s Watch 2, are compatible with both Androids and iPhones, Apple’s Watch devices don’t work with Android phones. “Despite innovative designs, such as the rotating bezels and circular screens employed by other vendors, Apple has pulled far ahead as it continues to focus on its core iPhone user base,” Low added.

Apple’s 2017 wearable success is in large part thanks to its September-released Watch Series 3, which added cellular connection — allowing you to make phone calls from your Watch — to the product range. Canalys said the Watch did particularly well in the US, Australia and Japan, where major carriers sold it over the holiday season.

It’s congruent with what Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a call to investors last week. “It was our best quarter ever for the Apple Watch,” he said, “with over 50 percent growth in revenue and units for the fourth quarter in a row and strong double-digit growth in every geographic segment.”

In terms of volume, Apple’s closest competitor is Chinese company Xiaomi and its inexpensive Mi Bands: In 2017’s third quarter, Apple held 23 percent of the market, compared to Xiaomi’s 21 percent. Fitbit wasn’t far behind though, with a market share of 20 percent.

Snap Chat User Base Grows, Shares Soar

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc surprised investors with a rebound in user growth for its Snapchat messaging app, showing resilience amid competition with Facebook Inc’s Instagram and sending shares up nearly 30 percent.

Paired with higher-than-expected revenue and improved margins, the user growth signaled loss-making Snap could be turning a corner as it grapples with other social media companies adding Snapchat-like features, analysts said.

Snapchat’s daily active users rose to 187 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from 178 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average expectation of 184.2 million users, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Daily active users rose 18 percent from a year earlier, reversing a trend of slowing growth. The figure is closely watched by investors who hope user growth can be translated into advertising revenue.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel credited improvements to the version of Snapchat that runs on Android phones, saying the retention rate of new Android users rose by nearly 20 percent compared to a year earlier

“Our business really came together towards the end of last year,” Spiegel said in remarks prepared for a conference call with analysts.

Shares traded at $17.73 after the bell, up 26 percent after trading even higher earlier. They had not traded above Snap’s initial public offering price of $17 since July 10.

“This was a monster quarter relative to bearish expectations,” analyst Daniel Ives of GBH Insights said, cautioning however that “competitive headwinds abound with Instagram front and center.”

Nearly a year after Snap’s March IPO, analysts and investors have been watching to see if Snap can boost user growth amid competition from larger rival Instagram, which has added photo filters and other Snapchat-mimicking features.

To make its app more friendly to users and advertisers, Snap launched a redesigned app in November, splitting “friends” from content feeds.

The Venice, California-based company posted a net loss of $350 million, or 28 cents per share, compared to a loss of $170 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. It was Snap’s fourth quarterly earnings as a public company.

 

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