Twitter users aren’t the only ones getting updates from the micro-blogging social media site. One maker of Android malware is also using Twitter to communicate with infected smartphones, according to security firm ESET.
The company uncovered the feature in a malicious app called Android/Twitoor. It runs as a backdoor virus that can secretly install other malware on a phone.
Typically, the makers of Android malware control their infected smartphones from servers. Commands sent from those servers can create a botnet of compromised phones and tell the malware on all the phones what to do.
The makers of Android/Twitoor decided to use Twitter instead of servers to communicate with the infected phones. The malware routinely checks certain Twitter accounts and reads the encrypted posts to get its operating commands.
Lukas Stefanko, an ESET researcher, said in a blog post that this was an innovative approach. It removes the need to maintain a command and control server, and the communications with the Twitter accounts can be hard to discover.
“It’s extremely easy for the crooks to re-direct communications to another freshly created account,” he said.
ESET said this was first Twitter-controlled Android botnet it had ever found. Windows-based botnets using Twitter have been around since at least 2009.
ESET said Android/Twitoor hasn’t been detected in any app stores, so it probably spreads through malicious links sent to the victim. The malware pretends to be a porn player or multimedia messaging app, and it’s only been active for about a month.
So far, Android/Twitoor has been found downloading versions of mobile banking malware to users’ phones.
“In the future, we can expect that the bad guys will try to make use of Facebook statuses or deploy LinkedIn and other social networks,” Stefanko added.
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.
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.
While we were hoping to see it bundled with some recently launched Polaris-based graphics cards, it appears that AMD wants to give some love to those that decide to buy AMD’s FX-series CPUs.
To be available in most popular retail/e-tail stores, the bundle will include a copy of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game with a purchase of a 6- or 8-core AMD FX CPU. According to details provided by AMD, the promotion will run from August 23rd to November 14th or until the supply lasts.
Currently, some of the hot AMD FX-series CPUs like the 6-core FX-6300 or 8-core FX-8320 are selling for as low as US $100 and US $130, so bundling a US $60 game sounds like a really good deal.
Hopefully, AMD will decide to bundle the game with some of its Polaris-based graphics cards after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets its DirectX 12 patch later in early September.
The researchers developed a technique to coordinate multiple wireless transmitters by synchronizing their wave phases, according to a statement from MIT on Tuesday. Multiple independent transmitters will be able to send data over the same wireless channel to multiple independent receivers without interfering with each other.
Since wireless spectrum is scarce, and network congestion is only expected to grow, the technology could have important implications.
The researchers called the approach MegaMIMO 2.0 (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) .
For their experiments, the researchers set up four laptops in a conference room setting, allowing signals to roam over 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi. The speed and distance improvement is expected to also apply to cellular networks. A video describes the technology as well as a technical paper (registration required), which was presented this week to the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM 16).
The researchers, from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, are: Ezzeldin Hamed, Hariharan Rahul, Mohammed Abdelghany and Dina Katabi.
Better-than-expected demand for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 is creating supply problems worldwide, the South Korean tech giant said, suggesting strong initial sales for the new premium smartphone.
While robust demand could help deliver another solid quarter of earnings, Samsung also risks missing out on potential sales if it cannot boost supply quickly. Rivals such as Apple Inc are poised to launch new phones which could pull customers away from Samsung if a shortage persists.
“As pre-order results for the Galaxy Note 7 have far exceeded our estimates, its release date in some markets has been adjusted,” Samsung told Reuters in a statement without commenting on where launch delays could occur.
Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if the world’s top smartphone maker does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.
Samsung said it was trying to boost production at the secret locations where the Notes are made, and aimed to meet demand “as early as possible”. It gave no further details.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there was no production issue for the curved screens used on the Galaxy Note 7 and that the shortage would not be a long-term problem.
“The party got more visitors than Samsung expected, so they just need to put more food out,” said Nomura analyst C.W. Chung, who said the supply situation was not a major risk given that Samsung made key parts such as displays and chips in-house.
Samsung could sell as many as 15 million Galaxy Note 7 phones this year, Chung said, compared with an estimated 9 million Galaxy Note 5 phones sold last year.
The phone went on sale on Aug. 19 in countries including the United States and South Korea, where it retails for 988,900 won ($882).
The Z2 phone, equipped with a 4-inch screen and India-specific features such as a safety mode for motorcyclists, will be the cheapest Tizen phone Samsung has launched to date at 4,590 rupees ($68.44).
The phone, the first Tizen-powered device that will run on 4G networks, will start selling in India on Aug. 29.
The world’s top maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips is trying to reduce its dependence on Google, whose Android operating system powers Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.
The firm has been using Tizen on products ranging from TVs, home appliances and wearable products to enable the devices to communicate with each other and phones via the internet.
Samsung has so far kept Tizen for a small number of markets such as India and Bangladesh, where many potential customers are still first-time buyers looking for a cheap device and do not necessarily need a big library of apps.
The firm declined to comment on sales figures but analysts have said the Z2’s predecessors have found some success.
Fresh after scoring a reasonably sized contract for the iPhone, Intel is getting more excited about its mobile business and is talking about its 5G plans.
5G is a good thing to talk about as there is no standard yet and it could be years away before carriers think of moving to away from 4G. However, it does inspire confidence that companies, like Intel are busy researching it.
However the Intel Developer Forum (IDF),in San Francisco heard how Intel is not that interested in trying to create 5G modems for mobiles and will instead focus on the back-end infrastructure supporting the technology.
Intel said that while 5G will power the mobile internet, Intel believes there will be a lot of room for its processors and data centers to look after the millions of sensors, cars and internet of things devices which will all be part of it.
Intel said that 2G networks were about phones and voice, and it was rolling out 4G there were requirements that hadn’t been planned for when it was originally designed.
While 5G is expected to start appearing by 2020, it should support IoT devices, as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications. This means that the backbone of datacenters will need to be in place to make it go.
While Intel has been talking about this backbone, it does seem odd that it is not mentioned much about the modem front end of the technology. Our guess is that it is something that Intel cannot ignore and does not appear to be doing so, with its various Internet of Things gadgets.
Gartner’s figures for second-quarter smartphone growth were more optimistic than numbers reported by Strategy Analytics and Canalys recently. Both had reported modest growth of no more than 3% in smartphone shipments.
IDC last month reported second-quarter shipments were flat, growing just 0.3%.
Gartner’s numbers show that Apple’s iPhone sales dropped 7.7% in the second quarter, with 44.4 million phones sold globally, down from 48 million a year earlier. This decreased Apple’s market share to 12.9%, down from 14.6% a year earlier. Even so, Apple was second globally in smartphone sales.
Meanwhile, Samsung was the top smartphone seller, with 76.7 million smartphones sold, compared with 72 million sold a year earlier. That increase boosted its share to 22.3%, up from 21.8%.
Gartner said Samsung benefited by sales of the Galaxy A and Galaxy J series of smartphones which competed well against devices from Chinese smartphone makers.
Apple’s declines were the worst of any market in greater China and mature markets in Asia/Pacific, decreasing by 26%. There were also declines for Apple in North America and Western Europe, but there was a big jump of 95% in Eurasia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.
Gartner ranked Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, in order, for third to fifth biggest in sales. Android devices were 86% of the total market, compared to 14.6% for iOS and 2.5% for Windows. Overall sales reached 344 million, up from 330 million a year earlier.
Massachusetts 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 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.
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.
It 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.
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.”
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.