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IRS Says Hackers Tax Filers E-Filing PIN Numbers In Latest Attack

February 11, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The Internal Revenue Service was the target of an illegal network intrusion that used stolen Social Security numbers and other taxpayer data to obtain PINs that can be used to file tax returns electronically.

The attack occurred in January and targeted an IRS Web application that taxpayers use to obtain their so-called Electronic Filing (E-file) PINs. The app requires taxpayer information such as name, Social Security number, date of birth and full address.

Attackers attempted to obtain E-file PINs corresponding to 464,000 unique SSNs using an automated bot, and did so successfully for 101,000 SSNs before the IRS blocked it.

The personal taxpayer data used during the attack was not obtained from the IRS, but was stolen elsewhere, the agency said in a statement. The IRS is notifying affected taxpayers via mail and will monitor their accounts to protect them from tax-related identity theft.

While the IRS said that externally acquired taxpayer data was used, the agency did suffer a security breach last year that allowed attackers to gain information such as Social Security information, date of birth and street address for over 300,000 taxpayers.

That attack involved the IRS’ “Get Transcript” application and in that case, too, the agency said that attackers were able to pass the app’s verification steps using information acquired from an external source.

Given the sheer amount of personal data that’s now in the hands of cybercriminals, it’s likely that some of them will try to monetize it and one possible method is by filing fraudulent tax returns.

 

 

Federal Government Wants Big Increase On Cybersecurity Spending

February 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

President Barack Obama has proposed a large increase in cybersecurity spending for next year’s budget, to improve outdated government software and promote better online security for consumers.

The plan calls for a $3.1 billion fund to replace outdated IT infrastructure; a new position of federal chief information security officer; a commission to study cybersecurity problems, and a program to recruit cybersecurity experts into government roles.

The U.S has been working since 2009 to improve the nation’s cyber defenses, most recently with the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, which promotes better information sharing between private industry and government, said Michael Daniel, special assistant to the President and cybersecurity coordinator, in a phone briefing with reporters Monday.

“Despite this track record, the cyberthreat continues to outpace our current efforts,” he said. “Particularly as we continue to hook more and more of our critical infrastructure up to the Internet, and as we build out the Internet of things, cyberthreats become only more frequent and more serious.”

The U.S. has faced serious data breaches and intrusions over the past two years. An attack on the Office of Personnel Management, the federal personnel agency, resulted in the theft of data including Social Security numbers, and in some cases fingerprints, of 21.5 million people.

In November 2014, the State Department took its unclassified email system offline after it detected suspicious activity. The shutdown came just two weeks after the White House reported unusual activity on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network.

Overall, the government wants to allocate $19 billion for cybersecurity spending in fiscal 2017, a 35% increase over the current year.

The proposed $3.1 billion Information Technology Modernization Fund would be used to replace systems that pose a high risk and to investigate more modern architectures, such as cloud services.

 

 

 

Kingston Announces Acquisition Of USB Technology Maker IronKey

February 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Kingston Technology has announced that it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation Corp.

Imation, which purchased the then privately-held IronKey in 2011, did not disclose the financial details of the sale to Kingston.

IronKey is perhaps best known for its highly secure USB flash drives, which use 256-bit AES encryption algorithm to secure data and a stainless steel case with no seams so it cannot be pried open.

The secure storage devices are validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet the stringent Level 3 criteria of FIPS 140-2. Combined with the cloud-based IronKey Enterprise Management Service, data security can be managed and audited from anywhere in the world.

IronKey’s thumb drives carry with them a hefty price as well. For example, a 32GB thumb drive can retail for as much as $599. However, you can also find them on online sites for around $280.

Kingston, which has had an encrypted portable drive line since it launched its DataTraveler product more than 10 years ago, said IronKey is one of the “leading alternative brands in encrypted USB flash” drives.

“The acquisition provides customers with a more comprehensive portfolio of products and services, and demonstrates Kingston’s commitment as the global leader in trusted encrypted solutions for mobile data,” Kingston said in a statement.

Kingston envisions no immediate changes that would affect the channel partners now  supporting IronKey products.

“IronKey customers with any questions or concerns are asked to contact their current distribution or reseller partners, or email ironkey@kingston.com,” the company said.

 

 

 

Will Nintendo Get Into Virtual Reality Gaming?

February 10, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Nintendo’s earnings report and briefing earlier this week were a bit of a damp squib for anyone hoping for more information on the company’s future plans; on NX and on smartphone games alike, the company remained utterly silent. We found out that you’ll be able to pre-register for the Miitomo smartphone app on the 17th of February, with the app itself to launch in March, but you’d have to be a truly ardent follower of Nintendo’s fortunes for that to create more than the slightest flicker of interest. What we actually knew by the end of the earnings report was this – Splatoon is really popular, people are buying an extraordinary number of amiibos, and there’s a special Pokemon-themed edition of the 3DS coming later this month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, which is important news because it means it’s 20 years since Pokemon launched and we’re all really, really old.

The frisson of excitement that spread around the media at the comment that the publisher is “looking into” virtual reality, then, is understandable – for journalists and fans looking for something interesting in the otherwise barren briefing, this was a sip of ice water in hell. Nintendo and VR! VR and Nintendo! An opportunity not only to speculate wildly about NX, but to dust off some hoary old jokes about the Virtual Boy; who could pass up on such a thing?

The thing is, “we’re looking into VR” is perhaps the most lukewarm statement Nintendo or any other company could make about VR. On the blandness scale, it ranks alongside “we know it exists” and “we’ve looked it up and figured out what the letters stand for”. To say any less would have required an active dismissal of VR; simply saying that the company knows VR is happening, and is keeping an eye on developments, is the bare minimum that you’d expect from any company in the industry. “Nintendo aware that VR exists” isn’t much of a headline, I’ll grant you, but it’s pretty close to what was actually announced by the company.

Of course, Nintendo isn’t going to dismiss VR out of hand; the company knows, perhaps better than most, that technological disruption can come from the most unexpected directions and upset market segments in unforeseen ways. The 3DS will never match sales of the DS, not because it’s got a weak software line-up – the software line-up is downright remarkable – but because Apple, a company that spent decades making expensive computers for artists and designers and never had the slightest truck with the videogame market, invented a tiny computer with a touch-screen and sold about, oh, a billion of them, to people who promptly decided that they didn’t need another tiny computer just to play videogames on the train. Is VR going to do something similar to other market segments? Sure, maybe (I’d argue that VR’s potential to disrupt areas of “serious” computing is perhaps greater than its potential to significantly change the videogame market); either way, Nintendo is absolutely going to be watching it closely and making sure it’s not left looking stupid if things take off in an unexpected direction.

For now, though, watching carefully is all anyone should expect of Nintendo and VR. The reality is that, the company’s ill-fated experiments with early iterations of the technology notwithstanding, VR doesn’t fit with Nintendo’s philosophy as a company. Although the multiplayer and social networking aspects of VR are yet to be explored (remember that Facebook is, at great cost, a big player in this field), one thing is absolutely certain about VR interaction – it’s remarkably anti-social in a “people in the same room as you” sense. The whole point of putting on a VR headset is to immerse yourself in a different world; of necessity, this involves cutting yourself off from the world, and the people, around you. That’s not a bad thing, per se; if immersion is what you want, it’s actually a selling point. It’s also sharply contrary to the most basic nature of Nintendo’s design philosophy.

Nintendo is about social gaming; if there’s one core concept that sums up the brand and the appeal of Nintendo over the past couple of decades, it’s that one. Playing with other people, ideally in a physical, real-world context, is at the heart of the design philosophy that underlies both Nintendo’s hardware and its software. The company’s home consoles are designed to support multiple controllers easily (the sadly under-utilised core concept of the Wii U was to create asymmetric gameplay opportunities using the GamePad and a clutch of Wiimote controllers, for instance), while its handheld consoles are designed with communication features that enable online play, sure, but are most effectively deployed in enabling communication with nearby players. In software terms, of course, it’s not that Nintendo lacks games designed for one player – there’s not much social gaming mileage in Fire Emblem, Legend of Zelda or Xenoblade – but many of the core titles that support the company’s systems are deeply focused on social play. Mario Kart is perhaps the most obvious of these, but local multiplayer in racing games is nothing new; to see how deeply ingrained in Nintendo’s DNA social play really is, think of how the company reworked the role-playing game to encourage local multiplayer match-ups with Pokemon, its expansion of the beat ‘em up from a head-to-head experience to a four-player rumble with Super Smash Bros. or even, all the way back then, the reimagining of online FPS gameplay, still in its infancy, into the four-player split-screen of Rare’s Goldeneye.

If you’ve owned Nintendo consoles recently, as most of you probably have, think about what you’ve owned for them. In my own living room, there’s no question which console gets the most usage – in spite of our love for Splatoon, it’s the PS4 that’s used most, followed by the PS3 – but we own one PS4 control pad, and while there’s a second PS3 pad somewhere I don’t think it’s been plugged in since we moved house over a year ago. For the Wii U, meanwhile, we own a GamePad, two classic controllers and three Wiimotes – and the Wii U is always, always the console that gets turned on when friends come over for drinks. It occupies a very different position in terms of usage and context to the PlayStation consoles, and that is very much by design on Nintendo’s part, not by accident. Television advertising for Nintendo games, in Japan at least, strongly emphasises this social aspect; almost every ad features multiple people sitting on a sofa enjoying a game together (boyband members racing each other in Mario Kart, kids putting their heads together to design a fiendish Mario Maker stage that dad won’t be able to beat, etc.). The social nature of Nintendo games is front and centre, and strongly contrasts with ads for PlayStation games, which rarely feature any imagery of the (solo) player at all.

How would VR fit with that? It’s not a question of whether Nintendo’s hardware would be capable of it (we still don’t know what NX will be capable of at all) or whether the company would be able to make good VR games (the firm’s track record surely proves that it’s perfectly capable of making good games on just about anything). It’s a question of how the entire brand Nintendo has cultivated, the perceptions it has built and the philosophy it espouses, would fit with the image of someone not only playing a game entirely solo (which is just fine), but actively donning a headset to block out the world around them while they engage with that world. In Nintendo’s conception of fun, the entertainment value of a game extends beyond the screen to the physical world and the people around you with whom you’re competing, cooperating and sharing the experience. VR flies in the face of that, and undermines the nature of the games which Nintendo has been most successful with over the years.

This isn’t to say that some aspects of VR technology won’t be of interest to Nintendo. Augmented Reality, the technology underlying Microsoft’s Hololens, is a much more natural fit for Nintendo; the company has actually messed with AR technology on the 3DS, although it didn’t use it for anything markedly exciting, and it’s entirely probable that the NX will build on that to some degree (although I don’t anticipate anything even remotely like the Hololens headset). Virtual reality headsets, though, are not going to carry a Nintendo logo any time soon – and unless they become a truly disruptive force in gaming, they probably never will. The company has wide-ranging interests, but a clear vision of what it means for something to be a “Nintendo product” – and that’s a vision that simply doesn’t include VR.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Another Security Flaw Discovered In iPhones and iPads

February 10, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Researchers have found an authentication bypass-sized hole in iPhones and iPads running iOS 8 and iOS 9.

This threat is real people, there is a video of it and documentation available online. It’s all pretty technical but the upshot is the vulnerability lets an attacker bypass the lockscreen on handsets running iOS 8 and iOS 9.

“An application update loop that results in a pass code bypass vulnerability has been discovered in the official Apple iOS (iPhone5&6 / iPad2) v8.x, v9.0, v9.1 & v9.2. The security vulnerability allows local attackers to bypass pass code lock protection of the Apple iPhone via an application update loop issue,” says the official technical description.

In rather loose language it continues: “Local attacker can trick the iOS device into a mode were a runtime issue with unlimited loop occurs. This finally results in a temporarily deactivate of the pass code lock screen. By loading the loop with remote app interaction we were able to stable bypass the auth of an iPhone after the reactivation via shutdown button. The settings of the device was permanently requesting the pass code lock on interaction.

“Normally the pass code lock is being activated during the shutdown button interaction. In case of the loop the request shuts the display down but does not activate the pass code lock.”

David Bisson, a regulator commentator on security, puts it more succinctly on the Graham Cluley blog, and throws in a couple of warnings about how and where you download your software. “This condition can be exploited by shutting down (or powering off) the device, at which point in time the passcode authentication feature is not activated as designed,” he said.

“Upon reboot (or re-activation), that protective feature remains disabled, allowing an attacker to access the device without a passcode… iOS users should therefore be careful when leaving their devices unattended around people they might not know.”

We have asked Apple to comment on the vulnerability and are awaiting a response.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Samsung 4K Blu-ray Players Already Hit The Streets

February 10, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Uncategorized

According to a post by USA Today, the Los Angeles area retailer began selling the Samsung UBDK8500 on February 5th for $397.99. The device is available in-store only, so we are expecting locals to rush in over the weekend and grab the player quickly as retailers are not expected to begin selling them for another few weeks.

In January, we wrote that Samsung’s UBDK8500 would begin arriving early to New York City-based Internet retailer B&H Photo Video as well as Crutchfield.com. Both sites are currently taking preorders for $399 and are expected to have stock on February 15th and February 17th, respectively.

For the initial public launch, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players are expected to be in high demand and limited supply as there will only be three options to choose from – the Samsung UBDK8500, the Philips BDP7501, and the Panasonic DMP-UB900.

We have asked Samsung if the company plans to release any 4K Ultra HD BD-ROM drives for PC, as we expect these to be a much better value-per-dollar than the standalone home entertainment players mentioned above. Unfortunately, the company says it cannot comment at this time.

Couretsy-Fud

 

Edge Continues To Weaken Microsoft’s Browser Standing

February 9, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

The inability of Microsoft’s Edge to gain new users from the Windows 10 operating system has contributed to the company’s overall decline in browser share, analysis of recently-published data shows.

According to several metrics sources, Edge’s share of the global Windows 10user base was significantly lower in January than was Internet Explorer’s (IE) share of all Windows users, signaling that Microsoft has not been able to maintain the historical — or even current — percentages of Windows customers on its newest browser.

Last month, Edge’s share of all Windows 10 users was 26% in U.S.-based analytics firm Net Applications’ estimate. That was a decrease of two percentage points from December, and 10 points lower than in September.

In comparison, Net Applications’ IE-only share of all Windows users was a much more substantial 48%, or nearly double that of Edge on Windows 10. In other words, almost half of all Windows users ran a version of IE last month, while just over one-fourth of Windows 10 users ran Edge.

Because Edge works only on Windows 10, and IE only on Windows, it’s relatively easy to calculate the percentages. That’s not the case with other browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, which run on multiple editions of Windows and on rival operating systems, such as Apple’s OS X.

Other measurement sources portrayed the same situation: Edge has not held up its side of the bargain for Microsoft.

Irish vendor StatCounter, for example, pegged January’s Edge global share of Windows 10 at 13%, while IE’s share of all Windows was a more substantial 19%.

A third source, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), tagged Edge’s share of Windows 10 for January at 24%, up one point from December. According to DAP, the IE-only share of all Windows traffic was 40%.

 

 

 

Will Intel Start Tunneling Transistors?

February 9, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel is looking at tunneling transistors and spintronics and slowly rejecting the need for speed.

According to the Intel’s William Holt, who leads the company’s technology and manufacturing group, Intel will soon have to start using fundamentally new technologies.

He named tunnelling transistors and spintronics as good candidates, but both would require changes in how chips are designed and manufactured, and would likely be used alongside silicon transistors.

Holt said that the technology will not offer speed benefits over silicon transistors and chips may stop getting faster. Instead the tech would improve the energy efficiency of chips, something important for many leading uses of computing today, such as cloud computing, mobile devices, and robotics.

Speaking at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco said: “We’re going to see major transitions… The new technology will be fundamentally different.”

Holt said that the status quo can only continue for two more generations, just four or five years, by which time silicon transistors will be only seven nanometres in size.

Tunnelling transistors are far from commercialization. They take advantage of quantum mechanical properties of electrons that harm the performance of conventional transistors and that have become more problematic as transistors have got smaller.

Spintronic devices could hit the market next year. They represent digital bits by switching between two different states encoded into a quantum mechanical property of particles such as electrons known as spin.

Spintronics will appear in some low-power memory chips in the next year or so, perhaps in high-powered graphics cards.

“Particularly as we look at the Internet of things, the focus will move from speed improvements to dramatic reductions in power. Power is a problem across the computing spectrum. The carbon footprint of data centres operated by Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other companies is growing at an alarming rate. And the chips needed to connect many more household, commercial, and industrial objects from toasters to cars to the Internet will need to draw as little power as possible to be viable,” Holt said.

Courtesy-Fud

 

BlackBerry Eliminates 200 Jobs, Trims Costs

February 9, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

BlackBerry Ltd  plans to cut 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business.

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The company declined to comment on what percentage of its workforce is affected by the cuts. According to a filing, the company had 6,225 employees as of Feb. 28, 2015.

The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed.

The company also confirmed that Gary Klassen is one of the people who has departed in the latest round of cuts. Klassen was one of its longest-tenured employees and the inventor of its BBM messaging service.

One source familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said many of the Canadian cuts were people working on its BB10 handset software at its Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters.

A spokeswoman for BlackBerry declined to comment on which divisions will be affected by the cuts, but said the company stood by its commitment to release further updates on its BB10 software.

Last September, the company laid off roughly 200 staff, who had worked on the hardware and design of the BB10 devices. The company began releasing the BB10-based devices in January 2013, but despite positive reviews the smartphones failed to win back market share from Apple Inc’s iPhone, and the slew of Android-based devices that dominate the global market.

In a final attempt to revive its handset business BlackBerry released its first Android-based device in November. It has stated it plans to release at least one more Android-based phone this year.

BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen has said he will make a decision on whether the company’s handset business is viable in the financial year beginning in late February.

 

 

 

Dell Appears To Be Taking Security To The BIOS Level

February 9, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Grey tin box shifter Dell wants to beef up security on its business laptops and PCs by introducing a new tool which helps to protect the BIOS from malware.

Attacks like this are rare and hard for software security to handle. Even wiping your harddrive and reinstalling software will not fix them.

Dell has introduced this new tool which makes a copy of the clean BIOS which is kept in the cloud, and compares it with snapshot with the machine’s BIOS every time it boots. If something’s been hacked or messed with it can be flagged up.

This allows the admin to be notified of the problem, and the system reverted to the clean BIOS. Dell wants to automate the entire process, but at the moment it still needs to be done manually.

Dell is making the system optional, and will cost extra for users.  It will be available on Dell’s Precision and OptiPlex models, along with XPS PCs and Venue Pro tablets.

Courtesy-Fud

 

In A Strange Twist, Dridex Malware Now Distributes Antivirus Program

February 8, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Users duped into opening malicious Word documents that distribute the Dridex online banking Trojan might have a pleasant surprise: They’ll get a free anitivirus program instead.

That’s because an unknown person — possibly a white-hat hacker — gained access to some of the servers that cybercriminals use to distribute the Dridex Trojan and replaced the malware with an installer for Avira Free Antivirus.

Dridex is one of the three most widely used computer Trojans that target online banking users. Last year, law enforcement authorities from the U.S. and U.K. attempted to disrupt the botnet and indicted a man from Moldova who is believed to be responsible for some of the attacks.

But their efforts caused only a temporary drop in Dridex activity, the botnet returning to full strength since then and even adding new tricks to its toolset. The Trojan can record key strokes and injects malicious code into banking websites opened on affected computers.

Dridex attacks usually start with targeted email messages that contain malicious Word documents. Those documents have embedded macros, which, if allowed to execute, connect to a server and download the Dridex installer.

Very recently, malware researchers from antivirus vendor Avira observed that some of the Dridex distribution servers were pushing out an “up-to-date Avira web installer” instead of the Trojan.

This means that some victims were lucky and instead of having their computers infected, they received a legitimate and digitally signed copy of the company’s antivirus program. However, the program’s installation is not automatic or silent, so users would have had to manually go through the installation process to get it running.

“We still don’t know exactly who is doing this with our installer and why, but we have some theories,” said Moritz Kroll, a malware expert at Avira, via email. “This is certainly not something we are doing ourselves.”

One possibility is that cybercriminals are doing this themselves in order to confuse antivirus vendors and mess with their detection processes. However, this is unlikely, as they would have more to lose than gain from helping victims secure their computers.

The more likely explanation is that this unusual incident is the work of a white-hat hacker who hijacked the Dridex distribution servers.

 

 

 

Twitter Shuts Down 125,000 Terrorism-related Accounts

February 8, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc has suspended more than 125,000 terrorism-related accounts since the middle of 2015, most of them linked to the Islamic State group, the company said in a blog post on Friday.

Twitter has said it only takes down accounts when they are reported by other users, but said that it has increased the size of teams monitoring and responding to reports and has decreased its response time “significantly.”

Twitter’s announcement comes as many tech companies – led by Facebook – have taken stronger steps to police controversial content online in the face of threats from legislators to force the companies to report “terrorist activity” on their sites to law enforcement.

Silicon Valley has been wary of engaging with government officials, concerned about endless demands for similar action from countries around the world as well as fears about being perceived by consumers as tools of government.

The announcement was also notable because Twitter has said little about its efforts to combat Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and similar groups even though it has been criticized for not doing enough.

Islamic State, which controls last swathes of Iraq and Syria, has heavily relied on the 300 million-person site, as well as others, to recruit fighters and propagate violent messages.

Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s program on extremism, said Friday’s report showcased an “impressive number” of takedowns, but said that Twitter still appears to police extremist content in a mostly “episodic” way.

Many extremists have migrated toward smaller, less monitored platforms in recent months in response to major Silicon Valley firms stepping up their content policing, Hughes added.

In January, a delegation of top national security officials met tech industry leaders from Twitter, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, and Google parent Alphabet Inc, but most companies, including Twitter, did not send their chief executive officers.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, called Twitter’s announcement a “very positive development,” but said more was needed.

“Addressing the use of social media by terrorists will require a sustained and cooperative effort between the technology sector, the Intelligence Community, and law enforcement,” he said.

Still, Twitter said in a blog post that it has cooperated with law enforcement when appropriate.

 

AMD Develops The Excavator Processor Specifically For Gamers

February 5, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has unveiled a handful of new processors as part of its 2016 desktop refresh, including the first chip based on the Excavator core to target desktop PCs. The firm will also release new motherboards with high-speed USB 3.1 ports and connectors to support M.2 Sata SSDs.

AMD’s new desktop processors are available now, and aimed chiefly at the enthusiast and gamer markets. They comprise three chips fitting into the firm’s FM2+ processor socket infrastructure for mainstream systems.

Two of these chips are based on the Godavari architecture and are APUs featuring Steamroller CPU cores and Graphics Core Next GPU cores. The A10-7860K has four CPU cores and eight GPU cores with a clock speed of 3.6GHz, while the A6-7470K has dual CPU cores and four GPU cores at a clock speed of 3.7GHz. Both have a maximum Turbo speed of 4GHz.

The A10-7860K is not AMD’s top-end chip, coming in below the A10-7870K and the A10-7890K, but it does replace three existing chips in the A10 line-up, the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A10-7800.

“The interesting thing about the A10-7860K is that it delivers the same high 4GHz Turbo speed, but it is a 65W part, so it delivers comparable performance to the A10-7850K, but we’re dropping 30W,” said AMD client product manager Don Woligroski.

 

The third chip is badged under AMD’s Athlon brand, as it has CPU cores only and does not qualify as an APU. The Athlon X4 845 features four of the new Excavator cores used in the mobile Carrizo platform, clocked at 3.5GHz with a Turbo speed of up to 3.8GHz.

Neither is the Athlon X4 845 at the top of the Athlon stack, but is “more of an efficient, really great low-cost part”, according to Woligroski.

AMD will also deliver new motherboards to complement the latest processors sometime during the first quarter of 2016. These bring support for USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with the new Type-C connector, offering 10Gbps data rates, plus connectors for M.2 SATA SSD modules. M.2 modules are more usually seen in laptop and mobile systems because of their compact size.

Future AMD desktop chips will converge on a common socket infrastructure known as AM4, according to Woligroski. The first processors to use this are likely to be the upcoming Summit Ridge desktop chip and Bristol Ridge APU.

AMD also announced a new heatsink and fan combination for cooling the chips. The AMD Wraith Cooler (below) is claimed to deliver 34 percent more airflow while generating less than a 10th of the noise of its predecessor at 39dbA.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Hackers Attempt Attack On 20+ Million Alibaba Accounts

February 5, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Hackers in China attempted to gain access to over 20 million active accounts on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Taobao e-commerce website using Alibaba’s own cloud computing service, according to a state media report posted on the Internet regulator’s website.

An Alibaba spokesman said the company detected the attack in “the first instance”, reminded users to change passwords, and worked closely with the police investigation.

Chinese companies are grappling a sharp rise in the number of cyber attacks, and cyber security experts say firms have a long way to go before defenses catch up to U.S. counterparts.

In the latest case, hackers obtained a database of 99 million usernames and passwords from a number of websites, according to a separate report on a website managed by the Ministry of Public Security.

The hackers then used Alibaba’s cloud computing platform to input the details into Taobao. Of the 99 million usernames, they found 20.59 million were also being used for Taobao accounts, the ministry website said.

The hackers started inputting the details into Taobao in mid-October and were discovered in November, at which time Alibaba immediately reported the case to police, the ministry website said. The hackers have since been caught, it said.

Alibaba’s systems discovered and blocked the vast majority of log-in attempts, according to the ministry website.

The hackers used compromised accounts to fake orders on Taobao, a practice known as “brushing” in China and used to raise sellers’ rankings, the newspaper said. The hackers also sold accounts to be used for fraud, it said.

Alibaba’s spokesman said the hackers rented the cloud computing service, but declined to comment on security measures designed to stop the system being used for the attack. He said they could have used any such service, and that the attack was not aided by any possible loopholes in Alibaba’s platform.

“Alibaba’s system was never breached,” the spokesman said.

The number of accounts, 20.59 million, represents about 1 out of every 20 annual active buyers on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces.

 

 

Are Light Powered Transistors On The Horizon?

February 5, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A team of researchers have emerged from their smoke filled labs claiming to have invented a transistor which runs on light rather than applied voltage.

According to Technology Review University of North Carolina in Charlotte say the new transistor controls the electrons to flow through it so that when the lights are on it and turns itself off when it gets dark.

This means that devices can be made smaller than field effect transistors because they don’t require doping in the same way and can be squeezed into smaller spaces. Meanwhile the speeds are faster.

Apparently the idea is not rocket science and is based on the idea that materials have been known to be photoconductive.

What the team has done is create a device which uses a ribbon of cadmium and selenium a couple of atoms thick. This can conduct more than a million times more current when on than off. This is about the same as regular transistors.

Of course it is years away from being a product yet. They still have not worked out how to send light to each transistor and if that will cost more power.

Courtesy-Fud