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Driverless Taxis Debut On Singpaore Streets

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

nutonomy-driverless-taxis-150x150The world’s first driverless taxi debuted Thursday in a limited public trial on the streets of Singapore.

Developer nuTonomy invited a select group of people to download their app and ride for free in its “robo-taxi” in a western Singapore hi-tech business district, hoping to get feedback ahead of a planned dull launch of the service in 2018.

“This is really a moment in history that’s going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings,” nuTonomy executive Doug Parker told Reuters.

The trial rides took place in a Mitsubishi i-MiEv electric vehicle, with an engineer sitting behind the steering wheel to monitor the system and take control if necessary.

The trial is on an on-going basis, nuTonomy said, and follows private testing that began in April.

Parker, whose company has partnered with the Singapore government on the project, said he hoped to have 100 taxis working commercially in the Southeast Asian citystate by 2018.

Nutonomy is one of several companies racing to launch self-driving vehicles, with automakers and technology firms striking new alliances.

Swedish automaker Volvo AB said last week it had agreed to a $300 million alliance with ride-hailing service to develop a driverless vehicle.

Israeli driving assistant software maker Mobileye NV said its vehicle, developed with Delphi Automotive Plc, would be ready for production by 2019, while Ford Motor Co said its self-driving car was slated for 2021.

 

Intel’s Mobile Kaby Lake Arrive In Q2 2017 Too

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A  report from the folks at NotebookCheck.net shows an Intel slide detailing some updates to the company’s mobile ULV processor lineup based on the Kaby Lake third-generation 14nm processor lineup.

As we mentioned in July, Intel is describing Kaby Lake mostly as a “2017 platform” and plans to launch some desktop processors in the fourth quarter of this year, but will have larger volumes planned for Q1 2017 and will probably announce them formally at next year’s CES.

Quad-core ULV chips arriving for the first time

With Skylake, Intel currently has its mobile processors separated into four categories – “Y”-series (Core M) for 2-in-1 notebooks, “U”-series for thin and light notebooks, “H”-series for gaming notebooks (with unlocked “HK” and “HQ” quad-core variants). The lineup includes some chips with Intel HD Graphics (listed as “+ 2” for “Tier 2”), while others feature upgraded Intel Iris Graphics (listed as “+ 3e” for “Tier 3”).

 “U” series gets a quad-core 15W design

There will not be any new chip configurations for Core M from Skylake to Kaby Lake, as the new generation will also feature dual-core CPUs with Intel HD Graphics and a 6W TDP. According to the source, however, the Kaby Lake “U” series will be receiving a new quad-core variant with Intel HD Graphics inside a 15W TDP. This will be placed alongside two current dual-core CPUs with Intel Iris Graphics (3e) in 15W and 28W designs.

“H” gaming series gets a quad-core 18W design

The Kaby Lake “H” gaming series will also be receiving a quad-core design with Intel HD Graphics inside a remarkable 18W TDP.

Not much has been reported about Kaby Lake notebook processor lineups yet, other than that the integrated GPUs will be be capable of supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, Wide Color Gamut (Rec.2020) and HDCP2.2 playback. This is a great value for consumers seeking thin and lightweight ultrabook lineups that don’t necessarily have physical room for a dedicated GPU, but who still want to experience 4K Ultra HD and similar resolutions with the benefits of a more complete color spectrum.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Notebooks Moving To On-Board Memory?

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Notebook vendors have largely moved to on-board memory designs and are killing off DIMMs so that they can make their Intel Apollo Lake-based notebooks as slim as possible.

According to Digitimes shipments of Intel’s 14nm Apollo Lake CPUs, which feature low-power consumption, high performance and reduced sizes is apparently on the increase and with that a move to on board memory designs. The reason is that the manufactures think an anorexic look is super fashionable.

Numbers of new notebooks using LPDDR4 has also increased as vendors have continued to make efforts to minimize power consumption, improve performance, while prolonging battery life.

Acer has two new ultra-thin notebooks, the Aspire S 15 and S 17, both featuring a thickness of less than 17mm. Other vendors, including Lenovo, Asustek Computer, HP and Dell are also expected to focus on ultra-thin notebooks and 2-in-1 models for the second half of 2016, Digitimes said.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Makes A Deal With Lenovo

August 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Software King of the World Microsoft has apparently been seen in public with the PC supremo Lenovo and insiders have been told that they want something more serious.

The pair have announced that they are deepening strategic ties but have not hinted about financial details. Instead Lenovo will load Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype on select Lenovo devices that use the Android operating system.

Microsoft did not say how much gear would be involved in the deal. Lenovo expects to ship millions of these Android-based devices worldwide over the next several years.

The deal is the latest in a string of similar deals by Microsoft with more than 70 Android device makers, including Samsung, HTC, Asus, Acer and Xiaomi.

The expanded collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.

Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, it has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements.

Nick Parker, corporate vice-president OEM division, Microsoft said that Vole was thrilled that its productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices and was talking about marrage.

“The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers worldwide to be more productive and connected and achieve even more,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

EA Appears To Be Going HD With Old Games

August 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

Electronic Arts has one of the deepest back catalogs in the industry, but to date it has steered clear of mining it for new revenue through remastered and HD editions. That’s likely to change soon, according to a Game Informer interview with EA Studios executive VP Patrick Soderlund from last week at Gamescom. When asked if anything in EA’s stance on remasters had evolved in the last year, Soderlund tipped the publisher’s hand.

“What’s changed is that there is proof in the market that people want it, maybe more than there was when we spoke [previously],” Soderlund said. “There were some that did it before, but I think there is even more clear evidence that this is something that people really want. The honest answer is that we are absolutely actively looking at it. I can’t announce anything today, but you can expect us most likely to follow our fellow partners in Activision and other companies that have done this successfully.”

Soderlund added that if EA were to remaster games, it would “have to be careful in choosing the right brands for the right reasons at the right time.” Part of that would be ensuring the company handles the remasters properly instead of just selling quick and dirty ports.

That attitude is a pretty clear pivot from where the company’s thinking was just a year ago. Last October, Peter Moore said EA wasn’t interested in remakes and remasters because “it feels like pushing stuff out because you’ve run out of ideas,” adding, “I don’t know where we find the time to do remakes. We’re a company that just likes to push forward.”

While EA hasn’t been especially aggressive with remastered games, it has produced HD versions of older games like American McGee’s Alice and Crysis, primarily as preorder incentives for sequels in those series.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Microsoft Releases 64-bit Versions Of Office 2016 Applications For Mac

August 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Office-on-Mac-150x150Microsoft has released 64-bit versions of its Office 2016 applications for the Mac, after a series of previews since April.

The five apps — Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word — will be updated to 64-bit for all customers, including those with an Office 2016 retail license, a consumer or commercial subscription to Office 365, and a volume license. Most users will be updated automatically as the suite launches an update app on its regular schedule.

Microsoft has been testing the 64-bit versions with Office Insider participants since April.

Apple has long urged developers to release 64-bit versions of applications — the Mac’s operating system has supported only 64-bit Intel processors since 2011’s OS X Lion — but Microsoft has been one of the most significant holdouts.

For users, the biggest benefit is the ability to work with much larger files — thanks to the significantly bigger swaths of memory that a 64-bit operating system can access.

Unlike the Windows edition of Office 2016, which comes in both 32- and 64-bit flavors, the Mac-specific suite will be available only in 64-bit after September. Microsoft offered users a one-month grace period during which version 15.25 will be provided in both 32- and 64-bit.

“There may be situations in which the customer has to change code that’s not 64-bit ready,” Microsoft said in a support document, referring to possible conflicts with third-party Office add-ons. “If customers can’t immediately move forward to 64-bit builds, we will make available a one-time 32-bit update for the 15.25 release in addition to the default 64-bit updates.”

That 32-bit version of 15.25 must be downloaded manually from Microsoft’s site.

The support document included instructions for reverting to 32-bit if Office 2016 had already been updated to 64-bit.

 

Target To Focus More On Digital Efforts To Enhance Customer Experience

August 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Target-Stores-150x150U.S. retailer Target Corp plans to put more emphasis on technologies that enhance customers’ store experience and on other digital efforts, Chief Information Officer Mike McNamara said.

Target will focus on its website, Target.com, and offline-online experiences such as order pickup and digital marketing, McNamara said in a blog post on the company’s website.

“Technology and supply chain are the new battlegrounds for retail,” he said. “The retailers with the strongest technology and supply chain will have the best chance of winning.”

Target will also focus on efforts such as store replenishment and merchandising systems to keep its stores well stocked, he said.

The retailer is in the middle of a hiring boom, McNamara said, adding that the company had hired about 700 engineers since he joined as CIO in February 2015.

Target had 341,000 employees as of Jan. 30, according to a regulatory filing.

 

AMD’s 32-Core Send Coming In Q2 2017

August 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has revealed a heap of details about its 32-core Zen based product – codenamed Naples – and we have a few things to add. 

According to our well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Remember, we were the first to mention Naples in detail in June 2016. Sometimes AMD calls these products  Alpha versions  but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This could have  been a pre-Alpha version that was stable enough to run.   

The beta version will follow Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called the final/general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and  followed by initial production.

When a tech company says a product will launch in the second quarter, expect it to happen towards the end. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in the last days of May or the first days of June 2017.

The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.

AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “
A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the possible launch date in as many details as we did.

According to a well-informed sources the engineering samples were expected in Q4 2016 which starts in October. Sometimes AMD calls these products an Alpha version but it looks like AMD was able to demonstrate the CPU a bit earlier as it did a public demonstration at the event in San Francisco last week. This might be a pre-alpha version that was stable enough to show.   

The beta version is following already in Q1 2017 and this CPU should be the pre-final version before the company goes to initial production. There is another step in between called final / general sample that is expected in Q2 2017 and it is followed by initial production.

When a company says a second quarter for a launch, you should expect it to happen towards the end of it. Our best guess is a launch time around Computex 2017. It will take place in last days of May or first days of June 2017.

http://www.fudzilla.com/news/processors/41376-amd-s-ceo-showcases-8-and-32-core-zen

The fact that AMD now supports DDR4 memory, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps, NVME makes its server portfolio a bit more competitive with Intel’s offering.

AMD’s Michael Clark is expected to give an audience at the Hot chips conference a bit more details about “A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD” but we doubt that he will talk about the  launch date in as many details as we just have.

Courtesy-Fud

Get Ready To Pay Taxes For Using Ride-Hailing Apps In Massachusetts

August 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber-taxis-150x150Massachusetts will begin levying a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee.

“I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors,” said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas.

Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police.

“They’ve been breaking the laws that are on the books, that we’ve been following for many years,” said Larry Meister, manager of the Boston area’s Independent Taxi Operator’s Association.

The law levies a 20-cent fee in all, with 5 cents for taxis, 10 cents going to cities and towns and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund.

The fee may raise millions of dollars a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts.

The law says the money will help taxi businesses to adopt “new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities” and to support workforce development.

Regulations for how the fee will be collected and a plan for how it will be spent still need to be drawn up, said Mark Sternman, a spokesman for the state’s MassDevelopment agency, which will be in charge of the money.

Riders and drivers will not see the fee because the law bars companies from charging them. Instead, companies themselves will pay the state, although Evdakov said it will be passed on to riders or drivers one way or another.

Authorities worldwide are grappling with how to regulate and tax ride-hailing. Seattle has passed a law that allows drivers to unionize. In Taiwan, Uber is battling a tax bill of up to $6.4 million.

Despite the cost, ride services in Massachusetts appear to have accepted the fee in exchange for other provisions. For example, the law does not ban them from picking up at Boston’s airport or convention center, although there will be special rules for those sites.

Lyft is pleased with the law even though it is not perfect, spokesman Adrian Durbin said.

Soliciting readers for how to spend the 5-cent fee, a column in the Boston Globe offered ideas such as hospitality training, incentive bonuses and help so taxi owners could buy “flagship” vehicles like a 1940s Checker or a Porsche.

Meister said the money could go toward improving a smartphone app his association has started using, or to other big needs.

“We definitely need some infrastructure changes,” he said.

 

Samsung To Launch Refurbished Smartphone Program

August 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung-logo-2-150x150Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is gearing up to launch a program to sell refurbished used versions of its premium smartphones as early as next year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The South Korean technology firm is looking for ways to sustain earnings momentum after reviving its mobile profits by restructuring its product line-up. As growth in the global smartphone market hits a plateau, Samsung wants to maximize its cost efficiency and keep operating margins above 10 percent.

The world’s top smartphone maker will refurbish high-end phones returned to the company by users who signed up for one-year upgrade programs in markets such as South Korea and the United States.

Samsung would then re-sell these phones at a lower price, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was not yet public.

The person declined to say how big a discount the refurbished phones would be sold at, which markets the phones would be sold in or how many refurbished devices Samsung could sell.

A Samsung spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation.

It was not clear to what extent the phones would be altered, but refurbished phones typically are fitted with parts such as a new casing or battery.

Rival Apple Inc’s iPhone has a re-sale value of around 69 percent of its original price after about one year from launch, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy sells for 51 percent of the original price in the U.S. market, according to BNP Paribas.

Refurbished phones could help vendors such as Samsung boost their presence in emerging markets such as India, where high-end devices costing $800 or so are beyond most buyers.

Apple sells refurbished iPhones in a number of markets including the United States, but does not disclose sales figures. It is trying to sell such iPhones in India, where the average smartphone sells for less than $90.

Selling used phones could help Samsung fend off lower-cost Chinese rivals that have been eating into its market share, and free up some capital to invest elsewhere or boost marketing expenditure.

Deloitte says the used smartphone market will be worth more than $17 billion this year, with 120 million devices sold or traded in to manufacturers or carriers – around 8 percent of total smartphone sales. Some market experts expect the used market to grow fast as there are fewer technology breakthroughs.

“Some consumers may prefer to buy refurbished, used premium models in lieu of new budget brands, possibly cannibalizing sales of new devices from those budget manufacturers,” Deloitte said in a report.

Intel’s Kaby Lake Line-Up Revealed

August 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Chinese tech website Coolaler posted an extensive list of Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake desktop processors based on Socket LGA 1151 yesterday.

There are 10 processors in the list, all quad-core parts with TDPs ranging from 35W up to 95W – and only two unlocked models. The lineup is broken up into three segments – “K” series for unlocked parts, “S” series which means “standard” parts without suffixes, and “T” series which means low-power variants.

Core i7 7700K, Core i7 7700 and Core i7 7700T

At the top of the list is the first unlocked model – Core i7 7700K with a 4.2GHz core clock (4.5GHz Boost), four cores, eight threads, an 8MB cache and 95W TDP. This is followed by two variants, the Core i7 7700 3.6GHz and Core i7 7700T 2.9GHz.

Core i5 7600K, Core i5 7600 and Core i5 7600T

The next unlocked model is the Core i5 7600K with a 3.80GHz core clock (4GHz Boost), four cores, four threads, a 6MB cache and 95W TDP. This is followed by two variants, the Core i5 7600 3.5GHz and the Core i5 7600T 2.8GHz.

Core i5 7500, Core i5 7500T, Core i5 7400 and Core i5 7400T

At the bottom of the list are four more models – the Core i5 7500 with a 3.4GHz core clock, the Core i5 7500T with a 2.7GHz core clock, the Core i5 7400 with a 3GHz core clock and the Core i5 7400T with a 2.4GHz core clock.

The main difference on the surface between Kaby Lake and Skylake desktop parts is that the clockspeeds seem to be increased. Architecturally speaking, however, the new design should give at least 5 to 10 percent overall performance improvement based on benchmarks released back in May. The chips will also add native USB 3.1 support, native Thunderbolt 3 support, native HDCP 2.2 support, full fixed-function HEVC main10 and VP9 10-bit hardware decoding. In terms of a release date, the source mentions that Kaby Lake mainstream desktop parts have been slightly pushed to early Q1 2017.

As announced earlier this week at the Intel Developer Forum, the company’s current focus is to bring the new architecture to mobile form factors (4W to 15W TDP) this fall for the various shopping seasons beginning with so called “back to school”, before continuing with desktop products in the first quarter of next year.

Courtesy-Fud

HipChat Adds Videocalling Feature

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hipchat-video-calls-150x150It just became easier for HipChat customers to see one another whenever they want it. The company launched new group video calling and screen sharing functionality that lets up to 10 other people share a virtual face-to-face meeting.

Users can spin up a call in a HipChat channel, or bring additional people into a one-on-one video call. That way, people who work in far-flung teams can get onto the same page face-to-face, using the same software that they count on for text chat during the day.

HipChat’s announcement Thursday is a move to compete with both consumer services like Skype and Google Hangouts, as well as workplace videoconferencing systems like Lifesize and Skype for Business. The launch is particularly important for HipChat’s competition with Slack, which recently added group voice calls and has video calling on its roadmap.

Group video calls are only available for teams that pay for HipChat Plus, which costs $2 per user per month.

The new video calling features are based on technology HipChat vendor Atlassian acquired with the JitSi open source video-conferencing product. The company still makes the open source version available, but this integration brings video calling into HipChat natively.

Right now, group video calling is only available on HipChat’s desktop apps, but it will make its way to mobile in some form in the future.

It will be interesting to see how quickly Slack can answer with video calling features of its own, after the high-flying productivity startup acquired screen sharing company Screenhero in January 2015.

Some teams may still find themselves in need of dedicated videoconferencing services, if they use specialized hardware for video meetings or if their needs exceed what HipChat can offer. For example, meetings in HipChat can’t have moderators with special privileges, and are limited to 10 participants at launch.

 

Hyundai, Google Discussing Self-driving Car Deal

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hyundai-Motor-150x150Hyundai President Jeong Jin Haeng said that his company is holding discussions with Alphabet’s Google unit about helping it develop a self-driving car.

The world’s fifth largest automaker hopes to enter into a symbiotic relationship, where it will bring its manufacturing prowess to Google and the Silicon Valley giant will help the automaker’s autonomous technology development.

“Hyundai is lagging behind the competition to develop autonomous vehicles,” Ko Tae Bong, senior auto analyst at Hi Investment & Securities Co, told Bloomberg News. “It’s not a choice but a critical prerequisite for Hyundai to cooperate with IT companies, such as Google, to survive in the near future.”

At a news conference with Korea’s Minister of Trade on Wednesday, Haeng said that “because Google is not too familiar with vehicles” his company can help with the execution of Google’s self-driving vehicle, which is one of the most advanced in the market.

The two companies are already connected in that Google’s self-driving vehicle project is being led by John Krafcik, the former CEO of Hyundai Motor America; Krafcik left Hyundai in 2013.

Hyundai also has been among the most aggressive automakers adopting Alphabet’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay, which allow the iPhone and Android smartphones to connect wirelessly to car infotainment systems.

Google’s self-driving vehicle division has also joined forces with major carmakers and ride-sharing services to form a coalition to lobby lawmakers and regulators for faster adoption of self-driving car technology.

In all, five companies — Alphabet, Ford, Lyft, Volvo and Uber — formed the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets coalition. Its mission: to spur the federal government to usurp a “patchwork” of state driving laws that could hinder autonomous vehicle acceptance.

 

Major Technology Giants Join Forces To Crackdown on ‘Robocalls’

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Robocalls-150x150Major technology and communication companies announced they are joining the U.S. government to crack down on “robocalls,” automated, prerecorded phone calls that regulators have labeled a “scourge.”

AT&T Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp are among members of the “Robocall Strike Force” that held its first meeting with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The strike force will report to the FCC by Oct. 19 on “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions,” said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, chairman of the group.

The strike force hopes to implement Caller ID verification standards to help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and consider a “Do Not Originate” list that would block spoofers from impersonating legitimate phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in July urged major companies to take new action to block robocalls, which often come from telemarketers or scam artists.

“This scourge must stop,” Wheeler said on Friday, calling robocalls the No. 1 complaint from consumers.

“The bad guys are beating the good guys with technology,” Wheeler said. In the past, he has said robocalls continue “due in large part to industry inaction.”

Stephenson emphasized “the breadth and complexity” of the problem.

“This is going to require more than individual company initiatives and one-off blocking apps,” Stephenson said. “Robocallers are a formidable adversary, notoriously hard to stop.”

The FCC does not require robocall blocking and filtering but has strongly encouraged phone service providers to offer those services at no charge.

The strike force brings together carriers, device makers, operating system developers, network designers and the government.

Other companies taking part include Blackberry Ltd, British Telecommunications Plc, Charter Communications Inc, Frontier Communications, LG Electronics Inc, Microsoft Corp, Nokia Corp, Qualcomm Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sirius XM Holdings Inc, T-Mobile US Inc and U.S. Cellular Corp.

Consumers Union, a public advocacy group, said the task force is a sign “phone companies are taking more serious steps to protect their customers from unwanted calls.”

Are Power Outlets A Security Risk?

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-OutletIt if we did not have enough to worry about, it seems that, thanks to the internet of things, we have to be concerned about the security of our powerpoints.

Security researchers from Bitdefender have found an IoT smart electrical socket which leaks your Wi-Fi password, your email credentials and is so poorly coded that attackers can use it to hijack the device and use it for DDoS attacks. In the good old days all the power point could do was turn electrical equipment on and off.

Bitdefender didn’t reveal the device’s manufacturer but said the company is working on a fix, which will release in late Q3 2016.

Smart electrical sockets are small electrical socket extenders, which you can plug into a regular wall socket. In this case the device comes with a module that allows users to manage power consumption using predetermined limits and schedule the socket to allow usage only between certain hours.

Bitdefender said that there were several major problems with this unnamed smart socket. When users set up the product, they also need to install one of the accompanying iOS or Android apps. These apps allow the user to connect to the smart electrical socket’s built-in hotspot and configure it by entering the local Wi-Fi network credentials.

The IoT socket uses these credentials to connect to the local network, and contact the vendor servers, where it sends a configuration file that includes several device details, such as model, make, device name, firmware version, MAC address, and others

All this networking is done without encryption, in cleartext, which an attacker can easily pick-up if sniffing the local network at the right time.

Additionally, the device’s default admin username and password is easy to guess, even without reading the device documentation.

The device also comes with a built-in feature to send users email notifications when a device scheduled task executes successfully. For this feature to function properly, users must fill in their email account username and password in the device’s configuration panel. The device improperly stores these details.

Bitdefender researchers say that an attacker that knows the device’s MAC address and default password can take control over the device, rescheduling it, or access data on the user’s email account and password.

Courtesy-Fudzilla

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