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Microsoft To End Detailed Security Bulletins

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft discontinue issuing detailed security bulletins in February, which for nearly 20 years have provided individual users and IT professionals information about vulnerabilities and their patches.

One patching expert crossed his fingers that Microsoft would make good on its pledge to publish the same information when it switches to a new online database. “I’m on the fence right now,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with patch management vendor Shavlik, of the demise of bulletins. “We’ll have to see [the database] in February before we know how well Microsoft has done [keeping its promise].”

Microsoft announced the demise of bulletins in November, saying then that the last would be posted with January’s Patch Tuesday — the monthly round of security updates for Windows and other Microsoft software — and that the new process would kick in on Feb. 14, next month’s patch day.

The web-based bulletins have been a feature of Microsoft’s patch disclosure policies since at least 1998, and for almost as long have been considered the professional benchmark by security experts.

 A searchable database of support documents will replace the bulletins; that database has been available, albeit in preview, since November on the portal Microsoft dubbed the “Security Updates Guide,” or SUG.

The documents stored in the database are specific to a vulnerability on an edition of Windows, or a version of another Microsoft product. They can be sorted and filtered by the affected software, the patch’s release date, its CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifier, and the numerical label of the KB, or “knowledge base” support document.

“Our customers have asked for better access to update information, as well as easier ways to customize their view to serve a diverse set of needs,” wrote an unnamed member of the Microsoft Security Response Center in November to explain the switch from bulletins to database.

Can AMD Launch Ryzen This Quarter?

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD indicated that the official Ryzen launch date will be sometime before March.

While they haven’t specifically given an exact date, a talk to be given by AMD at the annual Game Developer Conference (GDC) says the following: “Join AMD Game Engineering team members for an introduction to the recently-launched AMD Ryzen CPU followed by advanced optimisation topics.”

Obviously for this to be the subject of the talk Ryzen would have had to be recently launched which means that it is probably timed for that week.

GDC event runs from 27 February to 3 March and has not been put on the schedule yet and it could appear any day during the event.

AMD has not disclosed an exact date either, launching the new set of Ryzen CPUs right in the middle of both GDC and Mobile World Congress would be insane as the news would end up being buried under other GDC and smartphone announcements.

It would make sense to do it the week before all that, if not two.

Courtesy-Fud

Tesla Ends Free Charging For New Vehicles

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It will now cost new Tesla owners about $15 to complete the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco when using the company’s Supercharging stations.

The new pricing applies only to owners who purchase their electric vehicles after this Sunday. Those who bought vehicles before Jan. 15 will continue to receive free charging, the company said.

The company this week announced that its charging costs will vary from state to state and depend on which charging “tier” a driver is using. Tier 1 pricing, which applies to cars charging at or below 60 kW per minute, will cost half as much as cars using Tier 2 charging, which applies to cars charging above 60 kW per minute. In New York, Tier 2 charging will cost 20 cents a minute and in California, it will cost 19 cents.

Cars using fast charging or Tier 2 charging can attain about a half a full vehicle charge in 30 minutes — enough to travel up to 170 miles.

Tesla announced both kilowatt hour and by-minute pricing for its Supercharger stations, and said a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 380 miles) would cost about $15. (A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York — about 2,800 miles — would run around $120 in charging fees.)

Tier 1 pricing also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing Supercharger power with another car. Supercharger pricing information can be viewed on the vehicle’s 17-in. touchscreen.

Tesla Model S and Model X cars ordered after Jan. 15 will receive 400 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of their delivery.

“We carefully considered current Supercharger usage and found that 400 kWh covers the annual long-distance driving needs of the majority of our owners,” Tesla said in a blog. The company didn’t mention whether buyers of the Model 3 EV, due out in mid-2018, would also receive an annual free charging credit.

The Model 3 will be Tesla’s most affordable EV, with a starting price of about $35,000, and was originally slated to ship at the end of this year. Preorders for it have topped 400,000.

In North America, Tesla Supercharging pricing is fixed within each state or province. Internationally, pricing is fixed within each country, Tesla said.

When fully charged, the 85 kWh Model S sedan has a range of just over 300 miles, depending on road conditions and the speed at which it’s driven, according to Tesla.

“Where possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which is the most fair and simple method. In other areas, we bill for the service per minute,” the company explained on its website.

The fees for charging could provide Tesla with as much as $175 million in revenue just in this first year, according to Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research.

MediaTek Has A Strong Quarter

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek, the fabless semiconductor company from Taiwan that provides SoCs for HDTVs, Blu-ray players and wireless products, saw its revenues jump by 29.2 percent year-over-year to a record high of $8.6 billion (¥$275.51 billion), according to the latest industry reports.

Deemed one of the fastest growing chip companies in 2016, MediaTek’s upswing in performance last year is attributed to a larger share of the worldwide smartphone SoC market, along with higher sales in local China and Taiwan markets. In Q4 2016, revenues totaled $2.18 billion (¥68.68 billion) which is down 12.4 percent over the previous quarter, but still falls within the company’s projection of $2.11 and $2.31 billion (¥66.6 to 72.9 billion).

In Q3 2016, revenues totaled $2.49 billion (¥78.4 billion), an increase of 8.1 percent over Q2 and a 37.6 percent increase over the previous year. Net profits also rose to $248.4 million (¥7.83 billion) in Q3, an increase of 18.8 percent over the previous quarter but down 1.6 percent over the previous year.

Going forward into 2017, company officials now want to shift its focus from increasing market share to improving gross margins and profitability. This will include an effort to market its high-end Helio X30 and X35 mobile processors more effectively to compete against the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830 and 835 and Samsung’s Exynos 8895, as all three companies are now using ARM cores with 10-nanometer designs.

MediaTek MT5597 supports Dolby Vision and HLG

The Taiwanese chip designer was the first to develop an 4K Ultra HD-capable SoC for Android TVs with the introduction of the MT5595 for Android TV 5.0 back at CES 2015. It followed up a year later with the MT5996 for Android TV 6.0, another world’s first featuring four 64-bit CPU cores based on the Cortex A53 design.

Now in 2017, the company is releasing its third-generation Ultra HD SoC for Android TV 7.0, the MT5597. This chip also features a quad-core Cortex A53 design but now includes support for Dolby Vision HDR and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), the standard expected to be used in UHD television broadcasts when providers are ready to roll out HDR terrestrial and satellite services.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Apple’s Supposed Jump In AR Be A Game Changer?

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The super-cool and innovative tech power house Apple is rumored to have come up with some game-changing glasses which superimpose information and pictures onto reality.

Dubbed AR, no other technology company has come up with the idea before and it is believed to be the brain child of Tim Cook himself. Of course, it is all top secret because other companies will steal the idea before Apple gets it to market.

However, word on the street is that Apple is working with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses.

The rumor comes from tech evangelist Robert Scoble who thinks the project could be announced as early as this year. Apparently it has been confirmed by a Zeiss employee, Scoble wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR tends to overlay images and data atop the real world. This is the sort of idea which was shown with Pokemon Go.

To show how in advance Apple is over companies like Microsoft and Google Cook told ABC News that he saw bigger possibilities for AR than VR in September! That is long before anyone else came up with the idea and pours cold water on the idea that Apple has run out of ideas, can only update its ten-year-old smartphone technology and that it is always getting beaten to the punch issuing technology years after everyone else.

The company has filed several patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office that deal with augmented reality because, you know, no one else is doing AR.

Courtesy-Fud

Security Experts Warn Of New Spora Ransomware

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Security experts have uncovered a new ransomware program dubbed Spora that can perform strong offline file encryption and brings several ‘innovations’ to the ransom payment model.

The malware has targeted Russian-speaking users so far, but its authors have also created an English version of their decryption portal, suggesting they will likely expand their attacks to other countries soon.

Spora stands out because it can encrypt files without having to contact a command-and-control (CnC) server and does so in a way that still allows every victim to have a unique decryption key.

Traditional ransomware programs generate an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) key for every encrypted file and then encrypts these keys with an RSA public key generated by a CnC server.

 Public key cryptography like RSA relies on key pairs made up of a public key and a private key. Whatever file is encrypted with one public key can only be decrypted with its corresponding private key.
Most ransomware programs contact a command-and-control server after they’re installed on a computer and request the generation of an RSA key pair. The public key is downloaded to the computer, but the private key never leaves the server and remains in the attackers’ possession. This is the key that victims pay to get access to.

The problem with reaching out to a server on the internet after installation of ransomware is that it creates a weak link for attackers. For example, if the server is known by security companies and is blocked by a firewall, the encryption process doesn’t start.

Some ransomware programs can perform so-called offline encryption, but they use the same RSA public key that’s hard-coded into the malware for all victims. The downside with this approach for attackers is that a decryptor tool given to one victim will work for all victims because they share the same private key as well.

The Spora creators have solved this problem, according to researchers from security firm Emsisoft who analyzed the program’s encryption routine.

The malware does contain a hard-coded RSA public key, but this is used to encrypt a unique AES key that is locally generated for every victim. This AES key is then used to encrypt the private key from a public-private RSA key pair that’s also locally generated and unique for every victim. Finally, the victim’s public RSA key is used to encrypt the AES keys that are used to encrypt individual files.

In other words, the Spora creators have added a second round of AES and RSA encryption to what other ransomware programs have been doing until now.

So far, researchers have seen Spora distributed via rogue email attachments that pose as invoices from an accounting software program popular in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries. The attachments are in the form of .HTA (HTML Application) files that contain malicious JavaScript code.

European Automakers Look To Challenge Tesla’s Dominance

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Europe’s powerhouse automakers are rallying the full force of the continent’s industrial prowess to build a network of ultra-fast charging stations as they look to stoke demand for electric cars and break Tesla’s stranglehold on the market.

BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler plan to build about 400 next-generation charging stations in Europe that can reload an electric car in minutes instead of hours.

The long time it takes to charge batteries is one of the main disadvantages of electric cars compared to conventional cars with gasoline tanks that can be filled up in seconds.

 Until now, drivers of electric cars have had to leave their vehicles plugged in for hours at a charging station for a journey between cities, making many long range journeys impractical.

Installing new, faster chargers would spur the overall market, and also help the traditional car manufacturers close the gap with Tesla, the Silicon Valley-based e-car leader, which maintains its own network of charging stations. Tesla’s chargers are the fastest in the industry, and are incompatible with existing electric cars made by rivals.

The carmakers are roping in experts from the European power and engineering industry, including Germany’s Innogy, E.ON and Siemens and Portugal’s Efacec, which are all working on the technology, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The new 350 kilowatt (kW) chargers would be nearly three times as powerful as Tesla’s.

“This is a structured and concerted effort across sectors to tackle the infrastructure issue in a real way,” one of the sources said.

A spokesman for Ford, speaking on behalf of the consortium, said talks with possible partners had started, adding he expected several energy providers to be part of the planned network, without elaborating further.

Tesla’s tech billionaire CEO Elon Musk has hinted that the company will not be outdone, tweeting that 350 kW chargers are a “children’s toy”. A Germany-based spokeswoman for the company declined to comment beyond Musk’s remarks.

Should Virtual Reality Become More Of A Open Platform?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Tim Sweeney has urged virtual reality platform holders to ensure their devices and marketplaces are open to other providers in order to avoid the same monopoly that affects a significant portion of the smartphone market.

Speaking to Glixel, the co-founder of Epic Games said he say “a lot going on that’s wrong” in other tech sectors, and points to Apple as a prime example. While he thinks its fine for the firm to be the only distributor of its hardware, he disagrees with their monopoly on distributing software and collecting in-app revenue.

His added that virtual reality pioneer Oculus seems to be operating in a similar way to Apple, adding that this is “the wrong model” for virtual reality and something Sweeney “argued passionately against”.

“When you install the Oculus drivers, by default you can only use the Oculus store,” he said. “You have to rummage through the menu and turn that off if you want to run Steam. Which everybody does. It’s just alienating and sends the wrong message to developers. It’s telling developers: ‘You’re on notice here. We’re going to dominate this thing. And your freedom is going to expire at some point.’ It’s a terrible precedent to set.”

Sweeney believes that ultimately the open platforms will win as they will have a better selection of software. He praised HTC Vive for being such a platform and noted that the device is currently outselling Oculus two-to-one around the world, a trend he expects to continue.

The Epic Games founder acknowledged that his firm is making a closed-platform game for Oculus in the form of Robo Recall, a title that stemmed from Unreal Engine’s Bullet Train VR demo. However, he attributed this to the fact that the game is funded by Oculus and could never have been built on a budget based purely on sales.

“The Oculus store… is an awesome store [but] should run on all PC and VR devices,” he said. “Oculus would do best if they tried to bring users into their store by supporting HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and any other PC hardware that comes out. I think if they don’t do that, they’re going to pretty quickly fail, because you’re not going to want to buy a multiplayer game that you can’t play with half of your VR friends.”

Sweeney previously spoke out about the need for open virtual reality platforms during his keynote at the latest Steam Dev Day, saying: “It would be really tragic if we let the future metaverse, that binds all humanity together into shared online environments, were a closed platform controlled by a giant corporation.

“As always, they’d use it to spam you with advertising, they’d use it to gather information about your private life and sell it to the highest bidder, and they’d act as the universal intermediary between all users, content creators, and transactions, ensuring that everything has to be approved by them.”

 

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will AMD Unlock RYZEN ?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A set of new AMD Ryzen slides that have surfaced recently has confirmed that the entire Ryzen CPU lineup will have an unlocked multiplier and be ready for launch by the end of Q1 2017.

Although AMD has mostly been talking about its high-end 8-core/16-thread Ryzen SKU, there will be a full line of Zen-based Ryzen CPUs, including the rumored 6-core/12-thread and 4-core/8-thread version, probably coming with different clock speeds.

The newest set of slides confirms that every AMD Ryzen CPU will actually be unlocked, which means an unlocked multiplier, which should also make them quite overclocking friendly. Of course, the actual overclocking potential is still unknown but we hope there will be plenty of it.

The slide also reveals that AMD will actually have all-new lineups of both system integrators and OEM systems as well as an extensive lineup of 3rd party cooling solutions.

As mentioned by Robert Hallock, AMD is not targeting the very last day of Q1 2017 as the launch date so hopefully, these will come pretty soon.

As we wrote earlier, AMD’s CTO, Mark Papermaster, has confirmed that the company expects Ryzen to have a four-year lifespan, which is quite common for a new architecture.

Courtesy-Fud

Uber Technologies Offers Data From Trips To City Officials

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber Technologies making data from trips on its ride-hailing platform available to city officials, planners and policymakers to help them better understand traffic patterns and improve investments in infrastructure.

The move will likely win Uber goodwill with city officials, even as the company has resisted other bids for data by some cities. New York, for example, wants to collect trip records from vehicles on hire to monitor adherence to driver fatigue regulations, which Uber has rejected, citing individual privacy issues.

Some of the data collected by Uber over 2 billion trips across 450 cities will be provided under the new program, called Movement. However, the data will be “anonymized and aggregated into the same types of geographic zones that transportation planners use to evaluate which parts of cities need expanded infrastructure, like Census Tracts and Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZs),” Jordan Gilbertson, Uber’s product manager and Andrew Salzberg, head of transportation policy, wrote in a blog post Sunday.

Other ride-hailing companies have also offered data to planners. Cooperation with city planners could ensure that the ride-hailing concept gets more firmly entrenched in urban transport planning.

Easy Taxi, which started operations in Latin America, Grab in Southeast Asia and French operator Le.Taxi in December, joined a partnership with the World Bank and other organizations to make traffic data derived from their drivers’ GPS streams available under an open data license.

Uber has set up a website for providing the information. Access to the data on the website will be by invitation initially, though the company promises to make it available freely to the public soon. The insights on the Movement website are available under the Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial license, which would restrict the use of the data for commercial purposes.

“Since Uber is available 24/7, we can compare travel conditions across different times of day, days of the week, or months of the year—and how travel times are impacted by big events, road closures or other things happening in a city,” the executives wrote.

The concept of sharing aggregated data with cities is already being tried by Uber in Australia, where it has worked with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia to measure the performance of transport systems. Data from Uber was also used to analyze the impact of the Metrorail outage in Washington, D.C., on March 16 last year, of congestion citywide during the evening commute hours, and was used to analyze travel conditions during the 2015 holiday season in Manila.

Uber’s provision of data to local authorities is likely to come under close scrutiny by consumer groups that have in the past complained about the company’s collection of user data.

Will The Snapdragon 835 Beat Its Predecessor?

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm shared with us a few interesting facts about the Snapdragon 835. You can expect that many high-end smartphones will end up with this chip inside, as industry players are very interested. 

Keith Kressin, senior VP of product management at Qualcomm,  mentioned that the Snapdragon 820 and 821 scores combined more than 200 design wins. It is obvious that Snapdragon 820 will get replaced by the Snapdragon 835 due to its 25 percent less power, new CPU with eight cores, divided into two clusters, as well as the new GPU that is 25 percent better.

Let’s not forget that the 25 percent better battery will result in slimmer phones, larger batteries and we care about later much more as the bigger battery means better longevity. With Quick Charge 3.0 you can get five hours of talking time with just five minutes of charging.

The Snapdragon 835 SoC with its brand new DSP, 1Gbit modem, new CPU and GPU, definitely looks great and the fact that Qualcomm did this in 10nm and packed all three billion transistors in this tiny SoC, is quite amazing.

The fact that Qualcomm got to 10nm a few quarters ahead of Intel means that there is a big shift of power in the industry. To cut Intel some slack, the company is making a chip that aims for very high TDPs while Qualcomm SoC is looking for very small TDPs and focuses on  battery life.

The Snapdragon 835 will power a lot of AR and VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) solutions and you can expect to see some notebooks based on this SoC toward the second part of the year.

Courtesy-Fud

HMD Global Debuts The New Nokia Smartphone

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to market Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, debuted on Sunday its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users with a price of 1,699 yuan ($246).

The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire handset unit to Microsoft.

The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.

 “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world… it is a strategically important market,” HMD said in a statement.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones, and then chose Microsoft’s Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic phones under Nokia’s name and Lumia smartphones under its own name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.

HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade.

It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players.

Samsung Puts Confidence In Galaxy S8, Sets 10M Production Target

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has set an early production target of 10 million Galaxy S8 smartphones, South Korea’s Electronic Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Samsung is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year in one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history.

The firm has yet to disclose what caused some Note 7 phones to catch fire on their own.

 The newspaper said the world’s top smartphone maker would start production in March and planned to start selling them in April. Galaxy S7 phones went on sale in March last year.

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 

Will Cars Go Intel Inside?

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel has decided to spend a heap of money it’s got by buying into a company called HERE, or Here as we call it.

The chip giant has only taken a 15 percent share into Here, at a price that no doubt it can afford.

Here specializes in digital maps and location services for the internet of things as well as autonomous – that is to say, self-driving vehicles. Here is a private company, so Intel doesn’t have to say what a 15 percent share means in terms of cash.

But the interesting thing is that the company is “indirectly” wholly owned by Audi, BMW, and Daimler.

It’s not indirectly “wholly owned” now, though.

It means that Intel is in cahoots with motorcar companies and that’s not really a surprise. It has to go somewhere, perhaps autonomously, where no motorcar or semiconductor company has gone before.

Courtesy-Fud

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