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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.

Is A.I. Ready For The Big Time

February 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AI is set to be a massive disappointment for those who think it is going to take over the world.

While there have been remarkable advances in AI, after decades of frustration there are too many things that people can do quickly that smart machines cannot.

For example, natural language is beyond deep learning, sure AI machine translators are great tools, but they are leagues behind a competent human translator and will remain that way for decades. AI can’t handle new situations.

Senior partner at Flagship Pioneering, a firm in Boston that creates, builds, and funds companies that solve problems in health, food, and sustainability Jason Pontin has written in Wired that AI is good at a few things but terrible at others.

“Deep learning’s advances are the product of pattern recognition: neural networks memorise classes of things and more-or-less reliably know when they encounter them again. But almost all the interesting problems in cognition aren’t classification problems at all.”

Google researcher François Chollet said that people naively believe that if you take deep learning and scale it 100 times more layers, and add 1000 times more data, a neural net will be able to do anything a human being can do… But that’s just not true.

Gary Marcus, a professor of cognitive psychology at NYU and briefly director of Uber’s AI lab, recently published a trilogy of essays blasting deep learning.

He said that deep learning was not “a universal solvent, but one tool among many”. And without new approaches, Marcus worries that AI is rushing toward a wall, beyond which lie all the problems that pattern recognition cannot solve.

Deep learning is greedy, brittle, opaque, and shallow. The systems are greedy because they demand broad sets of training data. Brittle because when a neural net is given a “transfer test”—confronted with scenarios that differ from the examples used in training—it cannot contextualise the situation and frequently breaks.

Unlike traditional programs with their formal, debuggable code, the parameters of neural networks can only be interpreted using their weights within mathematical geography. Consequently, they are black boxes, whose outputs cannot be explained, raising doubts about their reliability and biases. Finally, they are shallow because they are programmed with little innate knowledge and possess no common sense about the world or human psychology.

Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington said that a self-driving car could drive millions of miles, but it will eventually encounter something new for which it has no experience. Of course a driver in Rome or Sofia encounters these random events every ten minutes so we suspect the AI driving unit would explode.

The theory is that humans might have a better learning algorithm in our heads than anything we’ve come up with for machines.

Courtesy-Fud

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

Tablet Market Still Shrinking

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The market for game-changing, super cool keyboardless netbooks is slumping lower than Donald Trump’s approval rating amongst educated black women.

The tablet, which was once touted by the Tame Apple Press as a technology cure for cancer saw only 46 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2017. Both brand and white-box tablet shipments had sequential growths in the quarter.

According to Digitimes Research, white box tablet suppliers are expected to cut their shipments for the first quarter of 2018 to lower their inventory levels and the move will undermine the suppliers’ shipments in the quarter.

For the brand tablet segment, despite cutting its price tag, Apple’s efforts to buck the trend of the first-quarter 2018 low season, shipments are unlikely to make much difference..

Worldwide tablet output will fall 30 percent sequentially and 17.1 percent on year to stand at around 32 million units, a new historical low.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, tablet shipments to first tier brand vendors accounted for over 70 percent of the overall worldwide volume, growing more than 10 percent sequentially, meeting Digitimes Research’s forecast thanks to the vendors’ aggressive promotions.

After its strong promotional campaign in the third quarter of 2017, Amazon turned less aggressive about marketing its tablets in the fourth quarter, resulting in a sequential shipment decline for non-Apple first tier brand vendors’ combined shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017.

White box players saw their combined shipments reach more than 12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 3 percent sequentially, mainly due to strong orders from their overseas clients.

However, compared to the same period a year ago, the overall white-box tablet shipments still slipped 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 because of fierce competitions from first-tier brands’ inexpensive models and weakening demand from emerging markets that are gradually reaching saturation.
In the first quarter of 2018, overall tablet shipments from first-tier brand vendors will drop to only around 22.5 million units, down 32 percent sequentially as non-Apple first-tier vendors will not have any new devices for the quarter.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Office 2019 May Only Work On Windows 10

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Software king of the world Microsoft has decided that its nice new shiny Office 2019 will not run on versions of Windows before Windows 10.

In a support article for service and support of Windows and Office, Microsoft has revealed you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10 if you want the latest version of Office without subscribing to the company’s Office 365 service.

It’s a move that’s clearly designed to push businesses that are holding off on Office 365 into subscriptions, as the standalone Office 2019 software will only be supported on Windows 10 and not Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machines.

Microsoft is also altering the support lifecycle for Office 2019, so it will receive five years of mainstream support and then “approximately two years of extended support”.

Courtesy-Fud

Nintendo’s Switch Helps Push Profits Higher

February 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

The former maker of playing cards Nintendo reported its biggest third quarter operating profit in eight years, driven by smashing demand for its new Switch games console.

The outfit now expects annual earnings to outstrip its previous estimate. This is thanks to the growing popularity of the hybrid home-portable Switch which nearly doubled Nintendo’s stock price to nine-year highs. Sales have far exceeded initial estimates, beating those of predecessor Wii U, and leaving suppliers scrambling for parts.

Nintendo posted an operating profit of $1.07 billion for the third quarter, up almost fourfold from a year ago. This is the highest ever that the company has earned in the October-December period since 2009.

Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said that Switch sales during the holiday season were stronger than expected in Japan, the United States, and Europe.

Nintendo sold 7.2 million Switch consoles in the three months through December and raised its annual sales forecast to 15 million units from 14 million units.

That already exceeds lifetime sales of 13.56 million consoles for the Wii U which was on the market for about five years.

The company expects Switch console sales to further rise to 20 million units or more next year, starting April.

As yet another attempt to diversify, Nintendo said this month it would launch in April “Labo” a set of LEGO-style accessories for the Switch console that kids can build themselves on cardboard sheets.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Offering OneDrive For Business For Free

February 8, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft is stepping up plans to win over customers from its cloud content storage rivals, offering free usage of OneDrive for Business platform in a new promotion. 

Under the deal announced Tuesday, current customers of Box, Dropbox or Google can switch to OneDrive and use the service for free for the remainder of their existing contracts. The offer is valid until June 30 and is available for organizations that are not currently OneDrive for Business or Office365 customers. Those making the switch must also commit to moving a minimum of 500 users to the platform.

“We want new customers to be able to experience OneDrive without incremental costs above and beyond what they are paying for today,” said Seth Patton, OneDrive general manager of product marketing at Microsoft.

Forrester principal analyst Cheryl McKinnon said the cloud content platform market is “rapidly consolidating” into a handful of large providers, and the Microsoft move could entice customers already on the fence about switching or driven primarily by cost concerns.

But McKinnon argued that customers need to “look beyond just discounts and bold offers” to ensure they’re investing in the content and collaboration services that best help employees and allow for easy sharing and collaboration when needed.

Patton said many organizations are keen to consolidate the number of vendors they rely on for content storage and collaboration. “They are interested in looking at OneDrive for Business but they have existing contracts that they are paying for which they can’t get out of,” he said. “We are reducing that cost and making it easier for new customers to move over.”

To that end, Microsoft provides FastTrack support services to help customers migrate onto OneDrive and Office365.

However, even with support from Microsoft, migrating from one cloud provider to another is no small feat. The offer may appeal to organizations that use cloud platforms for simple file storage or sharing internally, but it will not necessarily work for those that have applications more deeply embedded with their processes.

“Customers who are using these cloud platforms for more strategic content applications…may be less likely to leap within this window, and face rebuilding or reworking key apps or business processes,” McKinnon said.

Alongside the offer, Microsoft noted that 350,000 organizations now use OneDrive for Business, including both Office 365 and standalone customers. OneDrive is a standard part of the cloud application suite.

Among the customers to make the switch to OneDrive for Business are Accenture, Lowe’s, DBS Bank and Land O’Lakes.  Meanwhile, monthly active usage rates doubled during 2017, and the volume of OneDrive for Business storage more than tripled.

Patton also pointed to recent additions and improvements to OneDrive for Business. This includes   Files on Demand file sync service, File Restore and new search capabilities thanks to integration with Microsoft Graph.

McKinnon said the Office 365 suite is rich in what it offers, with only Google offering a near-comparable set of capabilities. “However, there is still some confusion among customers when trying to figure out how the O365 pieces can best complement each other.”

For example, OneDrive for Business is positioned as a personal file storage workspace, facilitating file or folder sharing with internal or external participants, yet SharePoint Online is pushed by Microsoft as the team or company-wide content repository for documents and related metadata.

“Box, Dropbox Business and Google have a clearer story when it comes to personal, team or enterprise content workspaces,” McKinnon said.

She added that the latest OneDrive for Business offer “adds fuel to the fire” in what is a hugely competitive cloud content management and collaboration market. “There has been tremendous innovation in this market over the last five years, with vendors traditionally known for ‘enterprise file sync and share (EFSS)’ capabilities moving into broader collaboration and cloud-native content repository services.”

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.

 

The Demand For iPhone Replacement Batteries Is Strong

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc has seen “strong demand” for replacement iPhone batteries and may offer rebates for phone owners who paid full price for new batteries, the company said in a Feb. 2 letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Apple confirmed in December that software to deal with aging batteries in iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models could slow down performance. The company apologized and lowered the price of battery replacements for affected models from $79 to $29.

In the letter released Tuesday, amid nagging allegations that it slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones, the company said it was considering issuing rebates to consumers who paid full price for replacement batteries.

The letter, released by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, also said Apple provided a phone-slowing software update in January 2017 but did not disclose it until a month later.

In the letter, Apple said it had known about battery problems caused by a manufacturing defect as early as fall 2016.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the committee, said in a statement that “consumers rely on clear and transparent disclosures from manufacturers to understand why their device may experience performance changes.”

Thune said that in discussions with the committee “Apple has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short. Apple has also promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price.”

Apple did not immediately comment on Thune’s statement. The company also sent a letter in response to Representative Greg Walden, a Republican who chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives. Apple told the committee that it would consider extending its reduced-cost battery replacement program beyond 2018 if it can’t find a way to prevent sudden shutdowns in older iPhones without throttling processor speeds.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission said they were investigating whether Apple violated securities laws concerning its disclosures that it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement last week, Apple said it had “received questions from some government agencies” and was duly responding to them. The company had “never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the statement said.

Consumers so far have filed some 50 proposed class action lawsuits over Apple’s latest iPhone software update, which they allege caused unexpected shutdowns and hampered the performance of iPhone models of the SE, 6 and 7 lines.

Government agencies in countries ranging from Brazil to France and Italy to South Korea are also investigating Apple following complaints.

Is Dell Going On An Acquisition Spree

February 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Michael Dell’s private PC empire is continuing to grow, and it seems that he is not happy with what he has.

Soon after buying out all his shareholders and going private, Dell wrote a cheque for EMC and created a considerable computer outfit. But word on the street is that despite a big debt load caused by all these buy-outs, Dell wants to expand further.

The word on the Street is that Dell’s board of directors will meet later this month to consider the most significant shakeup in the company’s history since it acquired data storage provider EMC for $67 billion in 2016, the sources said.

Dell is under pressure to boost its profitability after the EMC deal failed to deliver the cost savings and performance it projected, while higher component costs and a challenging data storage market have eroded its margins.

Dell is reviewing a list of several possible acquisition targets that would boost its cash flow and expand its offerings. Dell is also considering a sale or initial public offering (IPO) of its one of its fast-growing divisions, Pivotal Software. It may consider a transaction with its majority-owned VMware which have gained more than 62 percent in the past year.

Dell also has a security unit, RSA, and a cloud platform called Boomi which could receive the IPO treatment.  Another possibility is that the company could give itself an IPO.

A bright spot in Dell’s business has been its servers, helping its total net revenue growth to $56.7 billion in the nine months from $41.6 billion a year earlier. However, the company’s operating expenses soared from $10 billion to $17.3 billion, leading to an operating loss of $3 billion, up from a $1.6 billion operating loss a year ago.

Private equity firm Silver Lake which helped bankroll Michael Dell’s $24.9 billion deal in 2013 to take the company private and owns about 18 percent of the company is believed to be wanting to cash out of the company.

A stock market listing for Dell would allow Silver Lake to gradually begin winding down its stake. What is more, an IPO of Dell, or divestiture of one or more of its assets, would help it pay down debt faster, saving it money on expensive interest payments, for which it currently pays about $2 billion annually.

Courtesy-Fud

Is A Dell, VMWare Merger In The Works?

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Computer maker Dell Technologies Inc has confirmed that it was contemplating a public offering of common stock or a combination with business software maker VMware Inc, its publicly held subsidiary.

Dell, the world’s largest privately held technology company, is under pressure to boost profitability after its debt-laden acquisition of data storage provider EMC Corp for $67 billion in 2016 failed to meet financial targets, hurt by intensifying price competition.

Combining with VMware would provide access to VMWare’s $11.6 billion in cash, helping Dell trim its $52.5 billion debt pile. Last month’s U.S. tax reform made servicing that debt more expensive due to caps on deducting interest expense.

The combination would also make Dell a publicly listed company, offering a path for private equity firm Silver Lake to begin selling down its 18 percent stake if it chooses to. Silver Lake helped bankroll Dell CEO Michael Dell in taking the company private in 2013 in a $24.9 billion leveraged buyout.

A lockup provision prevents Dell from buying out the stake in VMware it does not already own until September. Any merger agreed before then would have to be structured as an acquisition of Dell by VMware: a so-called reverse merger.

“We view a reverse merger of Dell by its majority-owned subsidiary, VMware, as potentially the most beneficial alternative for Dell and Silver Lake,” Wells Fargo Securities LLC analysts wrote in a research note.

A combination of Dell and VMware would place them under the same management and help them co-ordinate strategy. Dell’s hardware and VMWare’s software offerings could potentially be marketed in one suite of products.

“As part of our ongoing multi-year strategic planning, Dell Technologies is evaluating a number of potential business opportunities,” founder Michael Dell said in a blog post. “We do this from a position of strength, with a desire to grow Dell Technologies and its businesses even faster and thrive in the very dynamic IT marketplace.”

Reuters reported on Thursday that Dell planned to announce a review of a possible reverse merger with VMware, as well as other options, including an IPO or asset sales. Sources told Reuters VMware was likely to form a special committee to consider a combination with Dell.

Dell added on Friday that nothing had been decided and the company might end up continuing to operate under its current structure.

“The board of directors follows sound corporate governance practices, and will continue to do so in connection with any potential transaction involving our controlling stockholders,” VMware’s lead director Paul Sagan said in a company statement.

YouTube Go App Has Worldwide Ambitions

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The app is part of YouTube’s rivalry with Facebook, as the two giants race to lure video viewers in regions where mobile internet is more of a luxury.

YouTube’s data-light app YouTube Go, now in 15 countries, will expand to more than 130 nations, the company said in a recent blog post.

Launched first in India last year, the YouTube Go app is designed to work with little to no connectivity, use less data and make recommendations more tailored to where you live.

YouTube Go is also a crucial competitive move against rivals like Facebook. Both Facebook and Google’s YouTube have amassed billions of users across the world. Now they face the challenge of recruiting new members in places where mobile internet can be hard to come by or expensive. As Facebook campaigns to swipe more video viewing away from YouTube, both companies are jockeying to lure in consumers in emerging economies, and those viewers are more likely to shy away from a data-draining format like video.

Facebook, for example, started an initiative called Free Basics, which provided no-cost free access to Facebook and several other approved services. The venture, however, ran into backlash for potentially setting up a two-tier Internet that would divide the rich and the poor.

Since YouTube Go’s launch in India, Google’s service has widened to 14 more countries, including Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand. “We’re excited to expand YouTube Go to over 130 countries around the globe starting today,” YouTube product manager Jay Akkad said Thursday in YouTube’s blog post.

YouTube also touted some feel-good examples of how YouTube Go has been used. A startup in Indonesia uses it to equip women with financial skills to start and run small businesses, and a primary-school teacher for low-income children in Lagos, Nigeria, says it gives her videos that help teach math and other lessons.

The company also noted it has made some design changes to YouTube Go. It’s given viewers more control over the quality that they stream or download and made it easier to share multiple videos at once or share from the home page. The app also introduced a feature to refresh its home screen with new personalized content with a pull-down of the screen.

Cybercriminals Increasingly Focusing On Crytocurrencies

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin’s burgeoning popularity and the emergence of about 1,500 other digital coins or tokens have drawn more hackers into the red-hot cryptocurrency space, expanding opportunities for crime and fraud, cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows warned in a report on Thursday.

“Cybercriminals follow the money and right now they see in the unregulated and largely unsecure world of digital currencies a huge opportunity to target people, businesses and exchanges and make money quickly and easily,” said Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows.

Digital currencies have quickly grown into a more mainstream asset class over the last two years as corporations and financial institutions have expanded use of the underlying blockchain technology.

With weekly launches of new alternative coins, or “altcoins,” cybercriminals have developed several schemes to defraud cryptocurrency holders. “Crypto jacking”, account takeovers, mining fraud, and scams against initial coin offerings (ICOs) have all grown more common, the report said.

In crypto jacking, cybercriminals secretly take over another computer user’s browser and use it to fraudulently mine or create cryptocurrencies, according to Digital Shadows’ report. Miners use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of bitcoins or cryptocurrenices in exchange.

Crypto Jacker software allows users to clone popular websites and initiate spam campaigns.

The cybersecurity company said criminals also perpetrate mining fraud using botnets, collections of internet-connected devices, which may include PCs, servers, and mobile devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Users are often unaware a botnet has infected their system.

Botnets were first used to mine bitcoin in 2014. The process was too complex to be financially viable, but botnets have made a comeback because newer cryptocurrencies like Monero are easier to “mine”, Digital Shadows said.

The company said botnets could be rented for $40. It said one such offering had “flown off the shelves” with almost 2,000 rentals so far.

 Cybercriminals have also been drawn to the surging initial coin offering market, the report said. ICOs have raised roughly $5 billion for various startups and projects in 2017, according to data from Crunchbase. That is up exponentially from just $100 million in 2016.

Rather than selling scam tokens, criminals target legitimate currencies, either by stealing funds from ICOs or by manipulating prices through the type of “pump and dump” schemes often used with penny stocks and other less-liquid assets, the report said.

SAP Acquires Software Firm Callidus To Increase Cloud Presence

January 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Europe’s technology giant SAP  announced a $2.4 billion U.S. acquisition to help it boost revenues from its cloud platform and CEO Bill McDermott said it would streamline its overall business this year to bolster margins.

The German company is midway through a strategic transition, aiming to force the pace on developing its S/4 HANA cloud platform, which now counts 7,900 customers, and wean customers off software sold under license and installed at offices and factories.

The shift has squeezed margins in recent years because the cloud business model is based on subscriptions which take longer to pay off – in contrast to one-off, up-front software license payments that was the thrust of its business for decades.

But McDermott told Reuters the strategy was now bearing fruit after SAP broadly stabilized its operating margins in the fourth quarter at 35.2 percent.

Acquiring U.S. sales software firm Callidus, in a deal announced on Tuesday, will help SAP in its ambition to become the market leader in so-called front-office software used in sales and marketing, building on its strength in back-office software that is used by companies to maintain control over far-flung multinational operations.

In an interview at SAP’s sprawling campus in Walldorf, Germany, McDermott said SuccessFactors, the human resources application acquired by SAP for $3.4 billion in 2011, would be fully migrated to the cloud this year.

“This year, the entire company will be on one platform,” McDermott told Reuters after SAP announced 2017 results that met its twice-raised guidance but came in just shy of analyst expectations.

He described Callidus as a “tuck-in” deal that would not move the needle on revenues but that he valued for the company’s market leadership and innovation.

As Callidus was on the cloud, it would help SAP achieve a 2020 goal of having “predictable” revenues of 70 to 75 percent of the total. These grew by 1 percentage point to 63 percent in 2017.

“We did that to get another cloud revenue stream in the mix,” McDermott said.

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