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Many Cisco Devices Remain Vulnerable To NSA Exploits

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

cisco-systems-150x150More than 840,000 Cisco networking devices globally are exposed to a vulnerability that’s similar to one exploited by a hacking group believed to be linked to the U.S. National Security Agency.

The vulnerability was announced by Cisco last week and it affects the IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR software that powers many of its networking devices. The flaw allows hackers to remotely extract the contents of a device’s memory, which can lead to the exposure of sensitive information.

The vulnerability stems from how the OS processes IKEv1 (Internet Key Exchange version 1) requests. This key exchange protocol is used for VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other features that are popular in enterprise environments.

Cisco discovered the vulnerability internally after analyzing an exploit for Cisco PIX firewalls that was leaked last month by a hacking outfit called Shadow Brokers. The exploit was part of a larger set of attack tools that Shadow Brokers claimed are being used by a cyberespionage group known in the security industry as the Equation, believed to be linked to the NSA.

Because other hackers could find the same flaw by analyzing the exploit leaked by Shadow Brokers, Cisco decided to inform its customers about it through a security advisory, even though the company is still working on developing and releasing patches.

Many of the affected IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR releases don’t yet have fixed versions, but Cisco released detection signatures for intrusion prevention systems that could be used to protect networks from potential attacks.

The Shadowserver Foundation, an organization that tracks cybercrime and assists with botnet takedowns, has started an internet-wide scan to find Cisco devices affected by this vulnerability — with the goal of reporting them to their owners.

Its latest scan identified devices with 840,681 distinct IP addresses that responded as vulnerable to the probe.

Google Launches AI Chat App Allo

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

allo-1-150x150Google-parent Alphabet Inc rolled out Allo, a messaging app that integrates Google’s search feature and a chatbot that uses machine learning to “improve” itself over time.

The new messaging service, which was unveiled in May, will compete with Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp and Messenger. The much-anticipated launch comes a month after Google rolled out Duo, its video calling app.

Allo features a chatbot powered by Google Assistant, a virtual personal assistant like Apple Inc’s Siri.

Users can call up the assistant in a chat by typing “@google” followed by a search query and the results will be displayed in the chat itself.

“The more you use it, the more it improves over time,” Amit Fulay, group product manager, wrote in a blog post.

The app has a “Smart Reply” feature that suggests responses to chats and can be send with just a tap.

“If your friend sends you a photo of their pet, you might see Smart Reply suggestions like ‘aww cute!’,” Fulay wrote.

Users can also use stickers and scribble on photos before sending them.

Allo will have end-to-end encryption only while chatting in “Incognito” mode. Whatsapp chats have end-to-end encryption.

Google has started rolling out Allo and said the app would be available worldwide in the next few days.

Apple Appears To Be Going With Polaris

September 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Apple is going to be putting AMD’s Polaris under the bonnet of its much needed iMac refresh.

According to Headlines & Global News in October the fruity tax-dodger is going to announce that its iMac is going to be refreshed after four years and will be finally dragged kicking and screaming into 2016.

AMD will be supplying the Radeon 400 Series Polaris graphics processing units which apparently will be in a powerful enough flavour to run Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.

LG will supply 5K resolution monitors. Thus, this information further hinted that iMac 2016 will most likely be suited for gaming, if they can find anyone who writes for the comedy iOS software.

There is still an unknown as to what the CPU would be. All the original rumors had suggested that Apple had signed up for Kaby Lake. This made sense when Intel was likely to beat AMD Zen to market.

Since then, Intel has had a few delays on Kaby Lake and if Apple is going to use it, the iMac will have to be delayed until next year. This time table does not sit well with an October announcement. AMD is not likely to have Zen ready for it either, so this means that if Apple wants to launch in October then it will have to use the far more pedestrian and less interesting Intel Skylake.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Announces Goes All In On Renewable Energy

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

apple-renewable-energy-150x150Apple announced that it has committed to powering all of its data centers and corporate offices off of renewable energy, joining a group of other corporations committed to the same clean energy goal.

Apple said it has joined RE100, a global initiative by influential businesses committed to using 100% renewable electricity. To date, RE100 has amassed membership from 77 corporations.

Other RE100 members include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, VMware, Rackspace and Wells Fargo.

Apple’s announcement is mostly symbolic at this point. The company is already powering its operations in the U.S., China and 21 other countries with 100% renewable energy, and, in 2015, powered 93% of its operations around the world with renewable energy.

Apple has invested in renewable energy for several years. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said Monday that the company completed construction on its latest renewable energy project — a 50-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Arizona, Apple worked with local utility Salt River Project on the solar array, which will provide renewable power to Apple’s global command data center in Mesa, Arizona. The solar farm provides power equal to the energy use of more than 12,000 Arizona homes.

Last year, Apple announced it would invest $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and a provider of utility-scale PV plants. Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW (megawatts, or million watts) from the new California Flats Solar Project.

The First Solar deal rocketed Apple past Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power.

 

New Orders For Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Resume In U.S.

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Communications Inc has resumed taking orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, after having stopped sales of the device earlier due to fire-prone batteries.

Samsung has recalled about 1 million Note 7 smartphones in the United States, offering to replace or refund the flagship phones. Their susceptibility to catching fire – with more than 100 cases reported across the globe – has damaged the image of the South Korean company.

Globally, the world’s top smartphone maker has recalled at least 2.5 million handsets, in a major setback for the company that is looking to claw back market share from rivals, including Apple Inc  that recently released its latest iPhones.

Samsung halted new sales ahead of the recall as it prepared replacement Note 7 devices with safe batteries.

The new Note 7 phones have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for all purchases and exchanges, Verizon said on its website, adding it has the Samsung device available for sale starting Wednesday.

The largest U.S. wireless carrier warned that initial quantities could be limited.

Samsung said in a statement on Tuesday that it had shipped more than 500,000 new Note 7s to U.S. carriers and retailers and that affected users will be able to exchange their recalled phones starting by Wednesday at the latest. The statement did not specify when new sales would start.

Rival carrier Sprint Corp’s website also showed the Note 7 available for order, providing a list of stores where customers can pick up a new handset by appointment.

Samsung did not immediately comment on the U.S. sales plans.

The firm previously said it will resume new sales in South Korea starting Sept. 28 and that sales in Australia and Singapore would resume sometime in October.

 

Intel Goes Bullish

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

It is starting to look like the PC market is picking up and Intel has raised its quarterly revenue forecast for the first time in more than two years.

Shares in Intel as much as 4.1 percent to a more than 15-year high on the back of the news which indicates the PC depression might be finally coming to an end..

Sales in the company’s PC business declined three percent to $7.3 billion in the latest quarter. The unit includes sales of chips for mobile phones and tablets. But Intel said that the green shoots of recovery are here.

Firstly HP said last month that revenue in its computer business rose 7.5 percent in the third quarter from the second as sales of notebooks improved. At the time FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said commentary from Intel and HP suggested that PCs were “not as dead as people were thinking.”

Research firm IDC said in July global PC shipments fell less than expected in the second quarter, helped by strength in the United States.

Intel now says it expected third-quarter revenue to be $15.6 billion, plus or minus $300 million, compared with its prior forecast of $14.9 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

That implies the highest-ever quarterly revenue for Intel. Wall Street analysts on average were expecting $14.90 billion.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani said the pre-announcement was a good first step to the PC story stabilising at Intel. Shares of rival AMD were up about 1 percent, while those of Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and HP were marginally higher.Shares in Intel had shot ip up 2.6 percent at $37.53

Courtesy-Fud

AMD’s Vega 10 Hits 24 TFlops

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Vega 10 is coming next year and it seems that it will be faster than the P100 card. P100 (21.2 TFlops) is a supercomputer part and has much higher theoretical performance than GP102 (10.97 TFlops). According to the raw numbers, AMD Vega 10 with 24Tflops, Vega 10 will significantly outperform Geforce Titan X. 

Thanks to our well informed and reliable friends, Fudzilla has learned that you can expect as much as 24 TFlops of half precision performance and 12 TFlops of single precision performance. Both half precision and single precision numbers are higher than Nvidia scores with Pascal P100, its highest end Tesla chip.

Earlier  we learned that HBM 2 won’t be really available before the end of the year and this is one of the main reasons why the Vega 10 had to be pushed to 2017. Nvidia announced the Tesla P100 but it always claimed that it plans to ship it in Q4 2016.

Bear in mind that the Titan X uses GDDR5X memory and scores significantly lower than the Tesla P100 and Titan X uses the GP102 chip that packs 12 billion transitions, while the P100 has 15.3 billion.

It is safe to say that Vega 10 will be rather a big chip and it gives you the idea that in case that Volta is not ready to launch in time to compete with Vega 10, Nvidia could have another Titan card based on the P100 with HBM 2 memory up its sleeves.

AMD is working hard to return on all fronts.  The Polaris generation is a decent competitor in the mainstream market but it cannot really touch Nvidia in the high end sector. This might change with Vega 10 and it will make AMD / RTG a bit more competitive.

The Vega 10 includes 16GB of HBM 2 memory.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Goes After Repeat Software Pirate In Court

September 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

microsoft-bldg-150x150Microsoft filed suit against a Wisconsin man for allegedly selling stolen Windows and Office activation codes, claiming in court documents that he is a repeat pirate who still owes the company $1.2 million from an earlier judgment.

In a complaint filed Sept. 8, Microsoft accused Anthony Boldin, of Brookfield, Wisc., of selling software activation codes to company investigators from four different websites he maintained. Two of those websites are now shuttered — only a message stating that the sites are no longer selling software remained Monday — but two others continued to operate.

The 25-character activation codes are a core component of Microsoft’s anti-piracy technology. Although the software can be copied an unlimited number of times, the keys individually lock a license to a device or a specific user. Minus a legitimate key — and thus, activation — Microsoft’s software retreats to a hobbled or even crippled mode.

Although Microsoft did not name the sources for the keys it said Boldin sold illegally, the firm pointed a finger at China. “Over the past several years, criminals in China and elsewhere have created a global black market for decoupled product activation keys that have been stolen from Microsoft’s supply chain,” the complaint stated. “The decoupled product activation keys end up in the hands of downstream distributors, such as Defendants, who then pass off the stolen keys to the general public as licensed software.”

According to that complaint, and other documents Microsoft lawyers submitted to a Wisconsin federal court, company investigators bought activation keys to licenses of Windows 8.1 and several versions of Office, some at significantly reduced prices, from Boldin’s websites. All the keys were illegitimate: Two were issued for use with academic programs in China, one was for Microsoft’s internal use, and four keys were stolen “tokens” assigned to an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for pre-loading software on a new device.

Microsoft also said that Boldin was well known to the company’s legal team.

“Microsoft sued Boldin in this Court on two prior occasions for violating its intellectual property rights (in March 2000 and again in December 2006),” the complaint read. “Notably, this Court entered two separate orders permanently enjoining Boldin from any infringing use or distribution of Microsoft software.”

Not only did Boldin continue to sell stolen or misappropriated activation keys, Microsoft alleged, but a $1.2 million judgment levied in the second case has gone unpaid.

Microsoft asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Boldin from illegally selling Microsoft software, and to expedite discovery so that the company may determine whether there are others in cahoots with Boldin and locate his financial accounts.

Nissan, Renault Team Up To Purchase French Mobility App Developer

September 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

nissan-and-renault-150x150Renault SA  and Nissan Motor Co announced that they will acquire French software development company Sylpheo as they compete with global automakers and tech firms to develop new services including ride hailing and car sharing.

The French and Japanese automakers said that the acquisition, under which they would absorb Sylpheo’s 40 engineers and consultants, would boost their software development and cloud engineering expertise.

“The Sylpheo team of software developers and cloud engineers joining the Alliance will have a unique opportunity to work on our next generation of connected cars and other advanced technologies,” said Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan’s senior vice president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services.

“They will be playing a critical role in this new era of tremendous change for the global auto industry.”

Automakers from Toyota Motor Corp to General Motors have been investing in software firms and mobility start-ups to position themselves for the rise of autonomous driving, ride-sharing and other connected services which threaten the traditional vehicle ownership model that has dominated the past century.

Sylpheo will develop the applications for the alliance’s connected car service platform, a Renault spokeswoman said. She said the acquisition was part of the alliance’s recruitment push to hire 300 technology experts to better compete in the fast-growing mobility services sector.

These services will be integrated with autonomous driving technologies. In July, Nissan launched a suite of semi-autonomous driving functions in one of its Japanese minivan models which enables the vehicle to drive on single lane motorways and navigate congestion.

The two companies plan to launch more than 10 vehicles with autonomous drive technology by 2020. Nissan is aiming to develop autonomous multiple-lane driving functions, including lane changes, by 2018, and functions for full urban driving, including intersection turns, by 2020.

Oracle Going After Amazon Web Services In Cloud Storage Wars

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

oracle-cloud-storage-150x150Larry Ellison has placed Amazon Web Services on notice with his latest statement:  Oracle is going to give Amazon a run for its money in the cloud market.

“Amazon’s lead is over,” he said during his keynote address at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco. “Amazon’s going to have serious competition going forward.”

To that end, the company he co-founded is launching a set of new cloud data centers that are aimed at providing more powerful compute instances to help it compete against the likes of AWS, Azure and other cloud players. The generation 2 data centers will help bring a variety of performance improvements to customers who want to run high-performance workloads in the cloud.

The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering that Ellison announced on-stage is aimed at giving companies low-cost access to incredibly powerful hardware in the cloud. It’s an attempt to draw businesses towards Oracle’s services as they start migrating applications to take advantage of the performance and low pricing available as a result of not operating their own data centers.

Ellison showed off a new Oracle Dense Cloud IO bare metal cloud server offering that will provide developers with 36 CPU cores, 512GB of D-RAM, and 28.8TB of SSD storage. That’s a ton of compute capacity, all aimed at high-performance enterprise workloads. It’s more power than Amazon offers with one of its most powerful instance, the i2.8xlarge. It comes at a cost of $5.40 an hour, which is cheaper than what Amazon charges.

Deepak Patil, a vice president of product development at Oracle, said in an interview that the company was able to compete with Amazon on price and performance for three reasons: The different way that it architects its infrastructure, its access to the latest and greatest hardware and the fact that its cloud platform is built on top of Oracle-made hardware.

Oracle vice president of software development Mark Cavage said that the company plans to charge a flat 7.5 cents per instance hour per core across all of its compute offerings. In addition to its bare-metal options, the company will also offer four- and eight-core virtual machines at launch. By the end of the year, Oracle will also make one- and two-core VMs available.

 

iPhone 7 Plus Outselling Smaller Version

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

iphone-7-plus-150x150Early data from U.S. sales of Apple’s latest iPhones suggested that the larger 7 Plus was outselling the smaller 7, according to market research data.

Of the iPhone 7 online pre-orders during the initial 48 hours of availability, 55% were for the 5.5-in. iPhone 7 Plus; the remaining 45% were for the 4.7-in. iPhone 7. That was the first-ever flip to the Plus size in the three annual cycles since Apple offered a big-screen iPhone in 2014.

According to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Slice Intelligence, U.S. buyers of the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus two years ago leaned toward the former in a split of 65% to 35%. The gap narrowed last year with the 6S and 6S Plus, when the smaller iPhone 6S accounted for 59% of the total, and the 6S Plus with 41%.

Slice based its data on a sampling of approximately 4 million U.S. consumers. Those people have opted in to Slice’s services or apps — including the same-named shopper’s assistant app for iOS and Android — or those of partners which license the firm’s technology, and so give Slice access to their email inboxes. Slice sniffs through the inboxes, then spots and copies emailed receipts for online orders.

Apple does not disclose the sales splits between iPhone models — or the various versions of its other hardware for that matter — but instead tallies all iPhones into a single number for each quarter.

Slice’s data hinted at a larger gross revenue number for Apple in the U.S. this launch cycle: The iPhone 7 Plus sells for $120 more than the iPhone 7.

Not surprisingly, Slice’s email receipts also showed that the iPhone’s new Black and Jet Black colors were the two most popular for pre-order customers, replacing the now-extinct Space Gray, which had been the top choice for the last two years. Nearly half of all iPhone 7 and 7 Plus orders (46% to be exact) were for the Black, said Slice, with another 23% were for the Jet Black.

Jet Black, a new highly polished finish, has been in short supply, high demand, or both: Apple ran out of that color almost as soon as pre-orders opened on Sept. 9. Currently, a Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus will ship to U.S. buyers sometime in November, according to Apple’s e-mart, while a Jet Black iPhone 7 will ship three to five weeks after ordering.

 

Twitter’s Livestream of NFL Game Touted As A Success

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

twitter-livestream-150x150Twitter Inc received an average of 243,000 viewers to Thursday’s National Football League livestream of the New York Jets triumph over the Buffalo Bills, the first time the social media platform has broadcast an NFL game.

The event drew mostly praise from Twitter users and media experts have said the NFL deal helps Twitter maintain its position as a venue for live video.

Still, the Twitter audience was only a fraction of the average of 15.7 million people watching across television and digital platforms, according to NFL data of the game, which the Jets won, 37-31.

Twitter’s arrangement with the NFL comes as sports fans increasingly rely on the internet to watch video at the expense of traditional cable and satellite connections.

The microblogging platform has struggled with user growth and advertising competition, and livestreaming the games gives it a new avenue to attract users as it tries to catch up with rivals such as Facebook Inc.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA  Ford Motor Co, Bank of America Corp and Verizon Communications were among the brands that ran video ads during the game’s livestream.

The deal with the NFL has the potential to reignite brands’ interest in working more with Twitter after it has had a bumpy ride over the past several months, said Victor Pineiro, senior vice president, social media at Big Spaceship, a Brooklyn, New York-based digital ad agency.

“We still see a big role for it,” he said.

For example, there is an opportunity for brands to be part of the conversation around the games through sponsored tweets and other means, said Edithann Ramey, vice president, marketing for Chili’s Grill and Bar, a Dallas-based restaurant chain.

“It’s very intriguing to us in terms of the number of impression they bring and ways we can jump in and be part of the conversation,” Ramey said.

witter is the second tech company to livestream an NFL game. In October, Yahoo Inc livestreamed a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills in London, which attracted an average of 2.36 million viewers, versus the 243,000 in the Twitter game.

About 15.2 million viewers watched at least part of the game on Yahoo, while a total of 2.3 million people tuned into Thursday’s game or pregame show on Twitter for at least three seconds, according to the NFL.

The Yahoo game, however, was not broadcast on U.S. TV nationwide and in some cases, the stream automatically started playing on Yahoo websites.

 

Da Vinci Mini 3D Printer Will Cost Less Than $300

September 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

da-vinci-mini-3d-printer-150x150XZY Printing has announced its least expensive 3D printer for students, educators and small businesses at a cost of $290.

The new da Vinci Mini is available at XYZ Printing’s online store, as well as at other online retailers such as Amazon, Overstock.com and Sam’s Club, which has priced it at $270.

The machine is 5.9-in x 5.9-in x 5.9-in in size, and comes with free use of the company’s XYZmaker 3D modeling software.

XYZ Printing, which has built a reputation around affordable consumer-grade machines, previously boasted its entry-level — the da Vinci Junior 1.0 — as the lowest-priced product at just $349.

Computerworld reviewed the da Vinci Junior 1.0 and noted that while it had some standout features, it was still a machine squarely targeted at beginners and didn’t offer a lot of sophisticated features.

Only the company’s da Vinci Minimaker, a 3D printer for children, is a less expensive machine — at $250.

“XYZ Printing’s new da Vinci Mini 3D printer… addresses the needs of 3D printing enthusiasts without sacrificing quality and ease-of-use,” Simon Chen, CEO of XYZ Printing, said in a statement. “No matter your level of 3D printing experience, the da Vinci Mini is the perfect tool to create high-quality products at an affordable price.”

The new da Vinci Mini comes with several features that are often associated with much more expensive 3D printers, such as embedded Wi-Fi, allowing users to transmit object files from their computers to the machine over their home networks.

The machine also self-calibrates its print bed, alleviating the need for users to level the bed by hand. The printer also comes with an auto-loading filament system, meaning users aren’t required to feed the PLA filament — the plastic material that’s used to create the printed object — into the heated print head by hand.

The da Vinci Mini has an aluminum print bed, which the company claims increases durability and is better at diffusing heat so that printed objects can more easily be removed without burning the user’s hands.

 

PC Market Showing Signs Of Life

September 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

pcs-150x150The PC market is showing some signs of growth, with Intel boosting its revenue guidance based on improved chip shipments.

The chip maker has raised its revenue guidance for the third quarter to $15.6 billion, plus or minus $300 million, an improvement from $14.9 million, plus or minus $500 million.

That’s due to PC makers replenishing laptop and desktop inventory, which means Intel is shipping out more chips. It’s likely in anticipation of the holiday season, when PC shipments rocket.

“The company is also seeing some signs of improving PC demand,” Intel said in a statement.

In the second quarter of the year, PC makers slowed down chip orders and were clearing out existing stock of laptops and desktops. PC shipments declined by 4.5 percent during that period, according to IDC.

Shipments of gaming PCs, 2-in-1s and Chromebooks are driving PC shipments. Microsoft’s free upgrade offer to Windows 10 has also ended, which means users are more likely to buy new PCs to get Windows 10.

Meanwhile, new laptops with Intel’s Kaby Lake chips are now available. All the top PC makers have announced new 2-in-1s and laptops with Intel’s new chips. New Kaby Lake chips for gaming PCs will be announced in January.

Intel also has started shipping Pentium and Celeron chips, both aimed at low-cost laptops, based on the same architecture and code-named Apollo Lake. Many Chromebooks are based on Apollo Lake chips.

 

Twitter Launches New Video Streaming Service

September 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

twitter-jack-dorsey-150x150Twitter Inc rolled out a new video streaming application for Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc TV platforms, as well as Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One gaming console as it brings its video content to the forefront.

The application will also be available for users of these devices without a Twitter account or a pay-TV subscription, the company said.

The application will feature video content from a number of Twitter’s partners, including the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, as well as curated tweets and shorter video from its Vine and Periscope services.

The news comes a day ahead of the first of the 10 NFL Thursday night games that Twitter obtained streaming rights for in April.

Jack Dorsey-led Twitter has made a significant push into video, signing deals with several media companies and sports organizations to stream major events.

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