Tuesday, October 4, 2016

5 Tips To Find The Right Gaming Hard Drive

Article by:Western Digital

A great video game hard drive not only stores all the games you play, but also loads them quickly. So, how do you know what type of drive has the best value? Which drive is big enough for your game collection, and fast enough to keep load times to a minimum?
Ultimately, it depends on what type of gamer you are.

Finding The Right Capacity

First, you want a drive that has enough storage to suit your needs. Hard drives that are 1TB or more in size, such as aWD Red hard drive, is a common starting point for many gamers, making sure to account for growing game sizes. While 500GB is standard for gaming systems nowadays, things like downloadable content (DLC), video recording, and live streaming, quickly use up the capacity of a drive. Storage space isn’t as expensive as it used to be, so the added investment now could make a

5 Lessons the Delta Outage Should Teach Us About Datacenter Security and Disaster Prevention

Article by:Concerto Cloud Services

The Delta outage: 650 cancelled flights, more than 1200 delayed flights, thousands of frustrated customers, tens of millions of dollars in damages – plus untold reputational damage to one of the world’s most trusted airlines. All due to a catastrophic, cascading technical failure that apparently started with a “small fire” in Delta’s datacenter.
Multiple news outlets have relayed this story about the fire, so I can’t speak to how Delta has its IT network designed and deployed. But I can say three things for sure.

First, our hearts go out to Delta for having to go through the mother of all business disruptions. It’s a tribute to the organization’s leadership, tenacity and resourcefulness that just a few days later, they were back online and operating normally again.

Second, if what I’m reading is true, this entire mess may have been avoidable — or at least, easier contained.
Third, I was one of the Delta travellers last week that was

Downloading Oracle Log Files in AWS RDS

Article by:Doug Walton

Let's get right to it. The core of the file is all built around this aws cli command:

/usr/bin/aws rds download-db-log-file-portion --region $region --db-instance-identifier $instanceName --log-file-name trace/alert_$sid.log > $logfileThat downloads the current alert log for the specified RDS instance. That's all you really need to get started on a script of your own. Fill in the $variables with whatever values apply to your instance.

If you want to get actual alerting on the alert log, this is the script I setup to run every 5 minutes. It determines where it left off in the log using readPos() and writePos(). If it finds a trace file, it also downloads that and emails it to $mailRecipient. Downloading a trace file is the same as downloading the alert log.

Another thing to note are the .ignore and .trigger files, this is how I determine what lines are worth alerting on. I'd recommend alerting on everything at first, and then adding stuff to the ignore file as it comes up. Right now since this is for an RDS instance in AWS most of what we are ignoring we have little/no control over.

I don't recommend copying this directly, but rather using it to give you an idea on

Top 10 Internet tips and tricks

Internet browsers

Take advantage of tabbed browsing

Take full advantage of tabbed browsing on all Internet browsers. While reading an article or browsing a website, you may come across a link that interests you. Any link to another page can be opened in a new tab so it does not interrupt your reading. To perform this action, hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the link. If you have a mouse with a wheel, click the link by depressing the wheel instead of rolling it. Either of the methods opens a link in a new window.
Tip: To open an new blank tab, press Ctrl + T at the same time.

You don't need the http:// portion of a web page

When entering an Internet address you do not need to type http:// or even www. in the address. For example, if you wanted to visit Computer Hope you could just type computerhope.com and press enter. To make things even quicker, if you are visiting a .com address you can type computerhope and then press Ctrl + Enter to type out the full http://www.computerhope.com address.

Quickly move between the fields of a web page

If you are filling out an online form, e-mail, or other text field you can quickly move between each of the fields by pressing the Tab key or Shift +

AMD provides upgrade path to Zen with new Bristol Ridge Pro processors for businesses

AMD's 7th Generation Pro processors will go into business desktops. Credit: AMD

Agam Shah
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 6:34 AM
AMD 7th Generation Pro processors code-named Bristol Ridge Pro will appear in desktops from HP and Lenovo
AMD’s new 7th Generation Pro chips have hooks to let PC users easily upgrade to next-generation Zen chips that could come out next year.

The new Pro chips, code-named Bristol Ridge, are for business desktops, and will appear in PCs from HP and Lenovo. The ability to easily upgrade is a big deal because it lets users avoid buying new PCs in order to get the Zen chips when they come out.

It’ll work like this: users buy a desktop with the new AMD Pro chip, but upgrade to Zen later on by replacing chips in the socket.

There’s a lot to like in the new AMD Pro chips, but there’s even more excitement around Zen, which will provide a 40 percent improvement in CPU performance. The new AMD Pro will be compatible with the AM4 socket, which provides the basis for upgrades to Zen.

AMD hasn’t said exactly when the Zen-based successor to the 7th Generation Pro will be released, though various product roadmaps issued by the company suggest it could come out a year from now. That said, the upgrade ability offered by the 7th Generation Pro chips opens the door for PC purchases for Zen to start now.

Enterprises want to keep PCs for as many years as possible, so the ability to easily upgrade to successor chips is important, said John Hampton, AMD’s director of commercial business development.

The 7th Generation Pro chips offer many advantages over their predecessors. The chips run 4K video and consume less power compared to predecessors, while boosting application performance. A 65-watt Pro chip consumes 32 percent less power than earlier generations of the AMD Pro, but speeds up CPU performance by 14 percent and graphics by 22 percent.

The new lineup includes seven AMD A12, A10, A8 and A6 Pro chips. They will be used in HP’s Elitedesk 705 G3 desktop, which will be available in tower PC and mini-desktop models.

The chip will support Windows 10 and Linux OSes. Those who prefer Windows 7 may need to buy older AMD Pro chips, which the company will still sell.

The 7th Generation Pro chips support DDR4 memory, NVMe SSD storage, USB 3.1, the USB Type-C slot and other new technologies. Hampton also highlighted an integrated “secure processor” that will secure the BIOS, firmware and personal data on a PC.

The AMD Pro chips are also designed to work with Windows Hello for multifactor authentication and biometric logins for PCs.

AMD’s Pro chips are comparable to Intel’s vPro chips, which are popular in business desktops. The Pro chips have remote management and security features based on the DASH (Desktop and Mobile Architecture for System Hardware) standard, which is widely used in servers. DASH shares many features with vPro, such as the ability to wipe out or shut down remote PCs that may have been stolen. But DASH isn’t widely used yet, with Intel’s vPro dominating the business PC market.

The highest-performing quad-core Pro A12-9800 draws 65 watts of power and has a clock speed of 4.2GHz. It includes an eight-core Radeon R7 integrated GPU. AMD compares the chip to an Intel Core i5 Skylake chip.

The lowest performing chip is the dual-core A6-9500E, which has a maximum frequency of 3.4GHz and draws 35 watts of power. It has a Radeon R5 GPU with four cores.

ICANN transition moves forward, despite last-minute attempt to block it

Fears about a transition away from U.S. government of ICANN are unfounded, says Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Credit: NTIA
Grant Gross
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 7:47 AM
The legal fight over the transition away from US oversight may not be over, however.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the long-time coordinator of the internet’s Domain Name System, is independent of U.S. government oversight, at least for now.

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s planned turnover of ICANN oversight to the wider internet community happened early Saturday morning, despite a last-ditch lawsuit filed by four state attorneys general attempting to block the move.

Late Friday, a judge in Texas refused to issue an injunction that would have forced the NTIA to retain its oversight of ICANN’s coordination of the Domain Name System root and IP addressing functions.

The legal fight may not be over, though. The judge’s ruling does not “resolve the underlying legal questions raised by the states,” wrote Berin Sz√≥ka, president of TechFreedom, a free-market think tank opposing the move. “Nor does it mean the transition is a done deal.”

A court could still rule that the NTIA did not have the authority to “relinquish its responsibilities” and could order ICANN and NTIA to negotiate a new contract, he added.

The four states aren’t likely to give up their case, and other parties could join the fight, he said. “And even if this lawsuit fizzles, some other plaintiff could raise the issue in the future,” he wrote. “This issue could cast a long shadow over ICANN for years until a court finally rules on the merits.”

Several tech trade groups have pushed for the transition to move forward. The Internet Association praised the transition, saying the move gives oversight to a wider community “with strong accountability measures and controls.”

The transition is “good for U.S. national security, the economy, and for the future of the internet,” the trade group said in a press release. Supporters of the transition have argued that continued oversight of ICANN has prompted other countries to complain about outsized U.S. control over internet functions and to push for international control.

The long-time policy of the U.S. government has been to eventually end its oversight of ICANN. But some Republicans, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have protested the decision to end ICANN oversight by President Barack Obama’s administration. Cruz has suggested that the transition amounts to the U.S. giving away the internet, although ICANN’s authority is limited to administering the DNS.

Cruz and other critics have suggested that a lack of U.S. oversight would allow repressive regimes to more easily censor the internet, although neither ICANN nor the U.S. government can control how other countries block content within their borders.

Some conservatives fear the lack of U.S. government oversight will embolden other countries or international bodies to attempt to take control of ICANN. The ICANN community has put together a transition plan designed to prevent that from happening, but those questions remain.

Smart device malware behind record DDoS attack is now available to all hackers

Credit: Stephen Lawson

Lucian Constantin
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 7:48 AM
The Mirai trojan enslaved over 380,000 IoT devices, its creator claims.

The source code for a trojan program that infected hundreds of thousands of internet-of-things devices and used them to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks has been published online, paving the way for more such botnets.

The code for the trojan, which its creator calls Mirai, was released Friday on an English-language hackers’ forum, cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs reported over the weekend. Krebs’ website was the target of a record DDoS attack two weeks ago that was launched from the Mirai botnet.

The trojan’s creator, who uses the online handle Anna-senpai, said that the decision to release the source code was taken because there’s a lot of attention now on IoT-powered DDoS attacks and he wants to get out of this business.

Mirai used to enslave around 380,000 IoT devices every day using brute-force Telnet attacks, according to Anna-senpai. However, after the DDoS attack against krebsonsecurity.com, ISPs have started to take action and block compromised devices, so the daily rate of Mirai infections has dropped to 300,000 and is likely to go down even further, the malware writer said.

It’s worth noting that unlike malware infections on desktop computers, infections on IoT and embedded devices are usually temporary and disappear when those devices are rebooted because they use volatile storage. In order to maintain their size, IoT botnets need to find and reinfect devices every single day.

The hijacking of home routers, DSL modems, digital video recorders, network-attached storage systems and other such devices to launch DDoS attacks is not new. For example, in October 2015, security firm Incapsula mitigated a DDoS attack launched from around 900 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

However, the IoT DDoS botnets seem to have reached their full potential over the past few months. After the unprecedented 620Gbps DDoS attack against Krebs’ website two weeks ago, French server hosting firm OVH was hit with a 799Gbps DDoS attack launched from a botnet of over 140,000 hacked digital video recorders and IP cameras.

Such a large botnet is capable of launching crippling attacks that could easily exceed 1Tbps, the OVH’s CTO warned at the time.

There are very few DDoS mitigation providers in the world who are capable of protecting customers against 1Tbps attacks. Content delivery network Akamai, which also offers DDoS protection services, dropped Krebs as a customer when his website was recently attacked because the attack was too costly to mitigate.

And things are only going to get worse because the market of IoT devices is rapidly expanding and many of these devices come with basic security holes, such as remote administrative interfaces exposed to the Internet and protected with weak credentials that users never change.

The release of Mirai’s source code is very likely to lead to the creation of more IoT botnets, and it wouldn’t be the first time. In early 2015 the source code for LizardStresser, a DDoS bot for Linux systems written by the infamous Lizard Squad attacker group, was released online. As of June this year, security researchers had identified over 100 botnets built using malware based on LizardStresser.

Microsoft follows AWS into France with plan for new Azure data center

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke at a company event in Dublin on Oct. 3, 2016. Credit: Microsoft via IDG News Service

Peter Sayer
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 9:22 AM
French businesses will be able to access Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure services from local servers, Nadella says
Microsoft is adding to its European cloud infrastructure, with plans to open new data centers in France next year, CEO Satya Nadella said Monday.

The company has already spent US$3 billion growing its European cloud capabilities. These include data centers in the U.K. hosting Azure and Office 365 services, and in Germany hosting Azure.

The French data centers will host Dynamics 365, Microsoft's new ERP and CRM offering, in addition to Azure and Office 365.

The company has already won over the the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence and German auto parts manufacturer ZF to its cloud services. Ireland's Health Service Executive and the Franco-Japanese car-making partnership Renault-Nissan Alliance are also customers, it said.

Key to winning European customers is the issue of "data sovereignty," according to Microsoft.

Data sovereignty is typically about ensuring data remains under the control of local laws, and in Europe those come at two levels.

Government rules on secrecy typically require that government data remain within national borders -- so data centers in the U.K. are vital if the U.K. government is to remain a customer, for example.

The storage and processing of personal information about European Union citizens faces other restrictions: It must only be done in jurisdictions offering the same level of privacy protection as EU law. While it's possible to export such data to the U.S. using legal mechanisms such as Privacy Shield, many companies are opting to keep things simple and keep the data within the EU.

The UK's recent "Brexit" referendum vote to leave the EU threatens to halve Microsoft's EU data center capacity, though, by putting UK servers outside the boundary if and when the exit happens. Adding more locations inside the EU will give Microsoft diversity.

"Trust and scale are some of the most important elements of our design plan for Microsoft cloud," CEO Satya Nadella said at a Microsoft event in Dublin on Monday.

Microsoft is not the only cloud company thinking of such things: Amazon.com last week announced that it will add a French location to its Amazon Web Services offering next year to increase geographic diversity. The company already has two data centers in the EU, in Ireland and Germany, and, in anticipation of Brexit, is building one in the U.K.

Mindful of recent attempts by U.S. authorities to subpoena email messages stored on its servers in Ireland, Microsoft has taken a hands-off approach to customer data in Germany, placing it under the control of a data trustee, T-Systems International, owned by German telco Deutsche Telekom.

Trump calls for U.S. to use offensive cyberweapons

Donald Trump at a rally in Florence, South Carolina, on Feb. 5, 2016. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Trump Campaign

Grant Gross
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 10:40 AM
The country shouldn't be shy about attacking those that target its resources, he says.

The U.S. government needs to be ready to use its offensive cyberweapons in response to attacks from other nations, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Monday.

The U.S. has significant offensive cybercapabilities, but it has been shy about deploying them, Trump said during a speech in Herdon, Virginia. "This is the warfare of the future," he said.

The U.S. should also increase its use of cyberweapons to attack terrorists, Trump said.

President Barack Obama has failed to protect the nation's cybersecurity and a new focus is needed, added Trump, who has largely avoided technology issues in his campaign.

Trump said he will create an international cybersecurity task force to battle hackers, and he will ask U.S. military leaders for suggestions on how to improve the nation's cyberdefenses.

Another team of experts will review all U.S. government cybersecurity systems. "Ultimately, all systems will be reviewed and made as secure as modern technology permits," he said. "The review team will also remain current with constantly evolving new methods of attack and will attempt to anticipate them and develop defense as often as possible before breaches occur."

Trump also called on U.S. agencies to follow "best and strongest" security practices and to set up new security training programs for all employees.

Trump didn't say how he'd pay for an overhaul of the government's IT systems, which could cost tens of billions of dollars. His description of the review team's duties to anticipate attacks mirror efforts that have been in place in the U.S. government for years.

Trump also used the speech to attack Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's operation of a private email server while she served as Obama's secretary of state.

Trump said his speech on cybersecurity was "just the beginning of a long and overdue discussion" about the issue.

Clinton released a cybersecurity plan months ago. She called on expanded investments in cybersecurity technologies and accelerated adoption of best practices such as the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework, first issued in February 2014.

Microsoft points to a transition of Windows 10 Mobile to 64-bit

Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile running on a Nokia 640 XL. Credit: Martyn Williams

Agam Shah
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 10:48 AM
Switching Windows 10 Mobile from 32 bit to 64 bit is inevitable as memory capacity in smartphones goes up, Microsoft says.

There's a lot to like in Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones, but it has one glaring weakness: It still is a 32-bit OS.

But a transition to 64-bit for the OS was inevitable as memory capacity in smartphones goes up, Microsoft said during a presentation at the Ignite conference last week.

Windows 10 Mobile lags behind Apple's iOS and Google's Android, which transitioned to 64 bits a few years ago. Many new Windows phones already have 64-bit ARM-based Qualcomm processors, but the OS still runs as 32 bit.

Thirty-two bits is "not really a limitation for us since the devices are all 4GB [of RAM] or less. But that will change over the next couple of years," said Jason Whitehorn, partner software engineer manager of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft.

The company is "very aware of" the impending transition and recognizes the importance of 64-bit, Whitehorn said.

Smartphones with a 32-bit system have a ceiling of 4GB of RAM and need a 64-bit OS to tack on more memory.

Whitehorn didn't provide an exact date for the transition to Windows 10 Mobile to 64-bit. But it'll likely happen soon because handsets like Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Note 7 already exceed 4GB of RAM. Also, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chips -- which are compatible with Windows 10 Mobile -- support the latest low-power DDR4 memory and are better equipped to handle 64-bit apps.

Mobile devices are getting more memory and storage to handle demanding applications, graphics, and 4K video. Some Windows 10 Mobile handsets also

Dell EMC patches critical flaws in VMAX enterprise storage systems

The Dell EMC VMAX storage platform. Credit: Dell EMC

Lucian Constantin
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 12:05 PM
Remote, unauthenticated attackers could exploit the vulnerabilities to fully compromise the systems
Dell EMC has fixed six flaws in its management interfaces for VMAX enterprise storage systems, including three vulnerabilities that are rated critical and could lead to the exposure of sensitive files or a complete system compromise.

One of the critical flaws is located in the Unisphere for VMAX enterprise storage arrays, an appliance that provides a web-based management interface to provision, manage, and monitor such systems.

More specifically, the flaw is in the GraniteDS library that provides server-side support for the Flash-based portion of the Unisphere web application. According to researchers from vulnerability management firm Digital Defense, the issue allows unauthenticated attackers to retrieve arbitrary text files from the virtual appliance with root privileges.

Another critical vulnerability was fixed in the vApp Manager application for

Anyone? Anyone? Hackers find little demand for their stolen NSA hacking tools

Hackers claim to have stolen files that may belong to the NSA. Credit: National Security Agency

Michael Kan
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 12:18 PM
The ShadowBrokers' auction for the hacking tools has so far generated little interest.
The hackers who are auctioning off cyberweapons allegedly stolen from the National Security Agency are growing annoyed and want cash.

The ShadowBrokers' sale of the stolen tools has so far generated little interest, and over the weekend, the hackers complained in a message posted online, using broken English.

"TheShadowBrokers is not being interested in fame. TheShadowBrokers is selling to be making money," the hackers said.

As of Monday, their auction only had one substantial bid at 1.5 bitcoins, or US $918. Many of the other bids were valued at less than $1.

The hackers originally dumped a sample of the stolen hacking tools back in mid-August, and independent security experts later found the tools to actually work. The tools include exploits designed to compromise firewall and router products from Cisco, Juniper Networks, and Fortinet and are probably worth a fortune.

The hackers claim they have more cyber weapons to sell. However, they've taken the unusual step of offering them up through an open online auction relying on bitcoin.

Although anyone can participate, the hackers haven't said when they'll accept the final bid. The hackers also hoped to receive 1 million bitcoins, or $611 million, in exchange for leaking all they stole for free to the public.

The unusual conditions have led some security researchers to suspect the auction is a publicity stunt. But the ShadowBrokers claim in their latest posting that the auction is real, despite "sounding crazy."

"Expert peoples is saying Equation Group Firewall Tool Kit worth $1 million," the group said

IoT botnet highlights the dangers of default passwords

Cameras produced from Dahua. Credit: Dahua

Michael Kan
IDG News Service
Oct 3, 2016 5:22 PM

The Mirai botnet used IoT devices to launch a massive DDOS attack
A botnet responsible for a massive DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack was created thanks to weak default usernames and passwords found in internet-connected cameras and DVRs.

The Mirai botnet grabbed headlines last month for taking down the website of cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs with a huge DDOS attack. Unlike most botnets, which rely on infected PCs, this one used IoT devices to target its victims.

It turns out the botnet was specifically designed to scan the internet for poorly secured products like cameras and then access them through easily guessable passwords like "admin" or "12345." Last Friday, the botnet's maker released its source code, and security experts have noticed it's built to try a list of more than 60 combinations of user names and passwords.

Those combinations were enough to allow the botnet to spread to 380,000 devices, according to its maker, who posted the source code on HackForums.

Security experts are warning that more botnets like Mirai will

NHK's latest 8K display is large, thin and beautiful

Martyn Williams
IDG News Service
Oct 4, 2016 1:29 AM

The screen is part of NHK's research into future TV form factors

An 8K display made up of four 4K panels and developed by NHK, on show at the Ceatec electronics show near Tokyo on October 4, 2016. Credit: Martyn Williams
Japanese public broadcaster NHK has developed a prototype 8K screen that's large, thin and shows an amazing picture.

The screen is made up of four 65-inch 4K OLED panels joined together to make a monster 130-inch display. They panels were produced by LG Display and are just 1 millimeter thick. They've been placed on a backboard to give the entire display a bit more strength and that has doubled the thickness to just 2mm.

NHK worked with Japan's Astro Design to turn the LG panels into a working television. It's being fed with uncompressed 8K video resulting in an amazing image and turning heads at this week's Ceatec electronics show near Tokyo.

Alas, the screen isn't available and might never be. It's part of the organization's research into future television form factors, including flexible TVs that can be rolled away when not needed, or pasted up like wallpaper.

8K refers to broadcasts with a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels. That's 16 times the resolution of today's full high-definition (FHD) broadcasts and four times that of the 4K standard, which is only just emerging in many other countries.

Martyn Williams

A side view of NHK's prototype 8K OLED display that's just 2 millimeters thick, seen at the Ceatec electronics show near Tokyo on October 3, 2016.

NHK has been developing 8K broadcasting technology for more than a

You can now use an iPhone to log into a Windows 10 PC, Microsoft says


Microsoft's Windows Hello is also coming to iPhones, the company says.

Apple's iPhone isn't always a good pairing for Microsoft's Windows 10 PCs, but you'll be able to use the phone's biometric authentication features to log into PCs.
Microsoft wants to kill passwords with Windows Hello, a technology that allows users to log into PCs by fingerprint, face, iris. or pattern detection. Beyond Windows 10 devices, the feature is also coming to devices, accessories, and apps that support Windows Hello.
Apple's iPhone will be able to use such an accessory or app to log in to Windows 10. At its Ignite conference this week, Microsoft said iPhone owners can use specific RSA SecurID authenticator tools on their devices to unlock Windows 10 PCs.
RSA uses gesture detection on the iPhone to log a user into Windows 10. On a trusted wireless network, the iPhone's RSA tool will automatically unlock a Windows 10 PC.
"There are other solutions coming for iPhone, too," Anoosh Saboori, senior program manager lead for OS security at Microsoft, said during a presentation at Ignite.
Microsoft believes biometric authentication is a hassle-free and secure way to access PCs and online services. There's no need to store passwords on a device.
Older Windows 10 PCs don't have fingerprint readers or infrared cameras, which are needed for biometric authentication. So Microsoft is promoting the development of devices and accessories that can connect to PCs and serve as secondary authentication devices.
The popular iPhone could serve as one such authentication device. Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile smartphones can also be used to log into PCs and websites, but the company hasn't been selling many smartphones.
Microsoft talked about some innovative accessories that are companion Windows Hello devices. These devices have to be registered with a Windows 10 PC via a PIN and can authenticate users through USB, Bluetooth, or NFC connections.
The HID iCLASS Seos/Prox Embeddable Card looks like a regular employee badge that provides physical access to doors and buildings. But it can also be used to unlock a PC via NFC.
Yubico's YubiKey looks like a small thumb drive, but plugging it into a USB slot authenticates and logs a user into a PC. It supports multiple authentication and cryptographic protocols.
The Nymi Band smart band uses heartbeat or ECG to authenticate the user. A user needs to hold a finger on the band sensor, and the device authenticates and unlocks a PC via haptic feedback. The smart band works with PCs over Bluetooth and NFC connections.
The companion devices are primarily for unlocking PCs, not for logging into websites. To log into websites and apps, users need to be authenticated through biometrics on a PC. The credentials are verified against biometric information stored in a PC's security layer in the form of cryptographic keys.
In the future, it'll be possible to also lock PCs via Windows Hello, Saboori said. That feature could come next year.
Asus, Huawei, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Plantronics, Symantec, and other companies are developing devices for Windows Hello, Saboori said.
Microsoft is using authentication standards developed by FIDO Alliance, which boasts members companies like Intel, Google, ARM, Samsung, Visa, Bank of America, Qualcomm, RSA, and Lenovo.

Nikon D3400 review

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Ever since its popular D40 model back in 2006, Nikon has done well to dismantle the idea of a DSLR needing to be a large, cumbersome machine. Of course, since then the company has released many even more compact mirrorless 1-series cameras aimed at a junior audience, although it's maintained its footing in the entry-level DSLR sector with a slew of compact and easy-to-use alternatives for those after something more traditional.

For a number of years, Nikon has chosen to split these into two camps. TheD5xxx series has presented an approachable but reasonably powerful solution for those wanting to get going with DSLR photography, but have

Hands on: GoPro Hero5 Session review

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Update: The GoPro Hero5 Session release date is here and our review has been updated with a new video to show off the Karma drone that launches at the end of the month. Now that the official editing apps have launched, we'll refresh to a full review this week.
The GoPro Hero5 Session is the small, cube-shaped action camera that's now capable of shooting stabilized 4K video and capturing all sorts of new wide angles.
It's the scrappy alternative to the new GoPro Hero5 Black, and surprisingly it shares many of the top-end specs within its more compact camera frame.
This is a big improvement over last year's GoPro Hero4 Session thanks to a more advanced camera sensor and the addition of video stabilization.
Here's our test flight with the GoPro Karma drone equipped with a GoPro Hero5 Black camera in high wind:
Your video will look noticeably better at the 2.7K and 4K resolutions, more field of view choices will fully take in your adventurous lifestyle, and

Hands on: GoPro Karma Drone review

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Update: We added a GoPro Karma drone video using the newly launched GoPro Hero5 Black below. It show how easy it is to pilot and how smoothly the video turns out. More videos to come as the drone release date nears.
The GoPro Karma is the action camera company's long-awaited entry into the burgeoning drone category, and it looks like good things come to those video-capturing adrenaline junkies who wait.
The Karma is a well-priced drone that provides stabilized video while hovering as high as 3280ft (1,000m) and soaring at a maximum speed of 35mph (15m/s). Its 3-axis camera gimbal keeps everything steady.
We didn't crash the Karma and its GoPro Hero 5 Black 'co-pilot' in our first three hours of flying it at the launch event in Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border. And yes, we did put it to the ultimate test – in high wind at the top of a mountain.
In fact, new and experienced pilots we saw aced the inaugural flight. This is helped by the fact that GoPro Karma comes with a gamepad-style clamshell controller. It's familiar, with intuitive buttons.
With its integrated 5-inch screen, the controller is

macOS 10.12 Sierra review

By the time you read this, the latest version of Mac OS X – sorry – macOS, will be available to download from the App Store. macOS 10.12 Sierra, to give it its full title, finally sees Apple move away from the OS X nomenclature given to every version of its desktop operating system since 2001.

You might be thinking, "Why macOS?" Well, the answer is simple: the new naming convention brings it in line with Apple's other operating systems: iOS,watchOS and tvOS. After previously naming versions of OS X after big cats of some description, the company turned to locations in California for recent releases.

This latest one name-checks Sierra County, which is home to the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range depicted in the default wallpaper. And it looks awesome on a Retina display.

How to download macOS Sierra right now

Apple tends to release new versions of macOS with a "tick, tock" cadence. Back in 2009 it followed up OS X 10.5 Leopard, which introduced hundreds of new features and improvements, with Snow Leopard – a performance-focused update. It repeated the trick with Sierra's predecessor, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which was basically a much faster version of Yosemite with a few new multi-tasking features baked in for good measure.

Instead of using the new name as an opportunity to overhaul OS X, Apple has made Sierra another iterative release in the vein of its recent predecessors.

However, it makes a clear attempt at swinging the focus back to

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

The Surface Pro 4 is iterative in the best sense of the word

There's no doubt in our minds that the Surface Pro 3 was wildly successful. In fact, with its flagship tablet, Microsoft went so far as to inspire its OEMs to make their own award winning 2-in-1s in a similar vein. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that when the next iteration rolled out, the Surface Pro 4 made only slight revisions over its predecessor. But we're not complaining.
The slimmer form factor and increased display size do wonders for the Surface Pro 4. Even the Type Cover keyboard has seen subtle changes. While it may

Volkswagen hopes to repair its reputation with an electric, autonomous concept car

By Rob Thubron on October 3, 2016, 7:30 AM

Samsung’s reputation may have taken a beating following the overheating Galaxy Note 7saga, but it’s nothing compared to the damage done to Volkswagen after last year’s revelations that it cheated on emissions tests. Now, the German car manufacturer is trying to repair customer trust with its electric and fully-autonomous concept car, the I.D.

Volkswagen showed off some images of the I.D. at the Paris Motor Show over the weekend. It also unveiled a futuristic short video of the car (below), demonstrating how features such as the “collect me” app and retractable steering wheel might work.

The car will be Volkswagen’s first vehicle to use its Modular Electric Drive Kit. The company says

Apple loses patent troll retrial, ordered to pay $302.3 million for patent infringement

By Rob Thubron on October 3, 2016, 8:30 AM

It’s a sad fact that most large tech companies spend a lot of time and resources dealing with patent trolls. Being one of the biggest organizations in the world means that Apple facesmore of these lawsuits than any other firm. Usually, the iPhone maker defeats the claims, but it's lost the latest battle; Apple has to pay more than $302 million in damages for infringing on patents in a case brought by VirnetX.

Apple has been engaged in legal wranglings with VirnetX, which makes almost all of its money from patent licensing and lawsuits, since 2010. A court ruled in 2012 that Apple had infringed on VirnetX network patents with products such as FaceTime and iMessage, and was ordered to pay $368.2 million in damages.

The Court of Appeals partially overturned that decision and ordered a new trial. In February this year, an East Texas court ordered Apple to pay VirnetX $625.6 million, but the ruling wasvoided after US District judge Robert Schroeder felt that combining two lawsuits (one over FaceTime and the other over VPN technology) into one trial created the "potential for juror confusion." He ruled that both cases needed to be trialed separately at a later date.

In the latest trial, a jury had to determine damages on two VirnetX patents on which Apple has already been found to have infringed upon. It also had to rule on infringement and damages relating to two other patents. The $302.4 million award was a similar amount to what VirnetX had demanded.

Apple could face paying out even more in damages if the court finds that it willfully infringed on the patents. It also has to deal with a second VirnetX lawsuit that claims patent violations in newer versions of Apple’s security features.

Apple said it plans to appeal the latest verdict.

Source code of DDoS botnet responsible for Krebs on Security attack posted online

By Rob Thubron on October 3, 2016, 9:30 AM

Last week, famed security researcher Brian Krebs was forced to take his website, Krebs on Security, offline after it suffered one of the largest distributed denial-of-service attacks ever recorded. Now, the source code for the botnet used in the assault has been published online.

Krebs on Security was hit with 620 gigabits per second of junk data during the DDoS attack. While this wasn’t enough to bring down the site, Krebs’ hosting provider, Akamai Technologies, was forced to order it off the network. Akamai had been offering Krebs pro bono protection from attacks for years, but the size of this DDoS meant it couldn’t keep doing so without the financial impact affecting other customers.

Krebs on Security reported Saturday that the source code of the malware, known as Mirai, was announced on hacking community Hackforums. It seeks out vulnerable IoT products by scanning for systems protected by factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords. The software turns these devices into vast networks of bots that can be used to launch DDoS attacks.

Krebs notes that as the source code is publicly available, it “virtually guarantees” the internet will be “flooded with attacks from many new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders and other easily hackable devices.”

My guess is that (if it's not already happening) there will soon be

The final DLC for 'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' arrives on Xbox One, PC this week

By Shawn Knight on October 3, 2016, 10:30 AM

The fourth and final DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to arrive later this week for Xbox One and PC gamers.

Dubbed Salvation, the DLC includes four new multiplayer maps and the last chapter in the Zombies storyline. Citadel, set in the ruins of an ancient castle and Micro, a miniature war zone that takes place on an oversized picnic table (yeah, you can’t make this stuff up) are both brand new while Outlaw – a remake of the Standoff map from Black Ops II – and Rupture – made in the image of the Outskits map from Call of Duty: World at War – should feel somewhat familiar to longtime CoD fans.

Salvation, which has been a PlayStation 4 exclusive for the past month, lands on Xbox One and PC on October 6. Those with a season pass should be able to download the DLC automatically later this week; otherwise, expect to pay $14.99 if purchased individually.

The final DLC makes way for the next major release in the CoD series, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which is set to arrive on November 4. The game was initially met with lots ofcriticism from fans that aren’t thrilled about Activision’s insistence on pushing the franchise further into the future. To make matters worse, the next Battlefield game (Call of Duty’s main rival) is taking gameplay back to the WWI era.

Battlefield 1 is set for release on October 21 followed by Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare a couple of weeks later on November 4.

Which? magazine claims iPhone 7 comes last in battery life tests

By Jose Vilches on October 3, 2016, 11:30 AM

Apple’s iPhone has never been a chart topper when it comes to battery life. Although by designing its own hardware and software the company is able to make its devices run efficiently, they also place a lot of emphasis in keeping them as svelte as possible, often staying away from larger batteries at the expense of longer runtime.

The new iPhone 7 has a higher-capacity battery than the iPhone 6s (1,960mAh vs. 1,810mAh) However, according to UK-based consumer testing organization Which?, the iPhone 7 still has the worst battery-life of all the current flagship smartphones.

The magazine compared Apple's 4.7-inch phone against the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10, and LG 5 in a series of tests designed to simulate for everyday usage.

On the 3G call time test, the iPhone 7 managed 712 minutes, compared with 1,859 minutes for the HTC 10 and 1,759 and 1,492 minutes for the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7. It also lagged behind the Android phones for 3G internet use, though by a smaller margin, scoring 615 minutes, which was 25 minutes less than its nearest rival, the LG G5, 62 minutes less than the Samsung Galaxy S7 and and 175 minutes less than

Apple reportedly prepping three new iPad Pro models for spring 2017

By Shawn Knight on October 3, 2016, 1:30 PM

Apple is prepping a trio of new iPad Pro models that’ll be ready sometime next spring according to a recent report from Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

The site, which cites “reliable sources,” claims a new 7.9-inch Pro model will succeed the iPad mini 4. It’s rumored to have a Smart Connector like the one found on the current 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, a True Tone display, four speakers and a 12-megapixel rear camera. The report doesn’t mention support for the Apple Pencil although my guess is that it will support the stylus.

The existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro will reportedly be bumped up to 10.1 inches and will pack a quad-microphone array as will the other two models. A refreshed 12.9-inch iPad Pro will also carry a True Tone display and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with a True Tone flash.

Unlike the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the next batch of iPad Pros will continue to offer a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s a bit odd that Apple is pushing to eliminate the jack on its smartphones but keep it on the tablet. It’s unclear if Apple will replace the physical home button with a stationary one as it has done with the new iPhones.

The report is somewhat in line with renowned Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo who says a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, not a 10.1-inch model, is inbound.

No word yet on potential pricing or a solid launch date.

Hulu offering first 12 months of service for $6 per month

By Jose Vilches on October 3, 2016, 2:30 PM

One of the main incentives for cutting the cord is to avoid paying for a lot of bundled channels that you don’t care about. But as fragmented as the streaming market is, subscribing to a bunch of different services to get all the content you want adds up, perhaps too close to your monthly cable bill . While that isn’t bound to change in the short term, Hulu wants to offer some relief by cutting its entry level subscription to $5.99 per month for the first year.

The promotion is limited to new Hulu customers only and applies to its subscription service with limited ads, with pricing going back to $7.99 per month after the first year. The streaming service is not offering any discounts for its $11.99 per month commercial-free offering.

The promotional price undercuts Netflix’s single-stream, SD-only plan, which goes for $7.99 per month, as well as their two-stream $9.99 plan with HD content, and Amazon’s new standalone streaming option (sans Prime shipping) for $8.99 a month.

Hulu offers on-demand TV shows from major networks that become available a day after they are aired. The company is also working on a live TV streaming service that’s going to be launched in 2017 and is rumored to cost $40 per month, with content from Disney, Fox and most recently Time Warner after the latter bought a 10% stake in the company.

Mozilla is testing outside plugins with Firefox to keep costs down

By Shawn Knight on October 3, 2016, 3:30 PM

In an effort to keep costs down, the Mozilla Foundation recently launched a new project that it hopes will reduce the amount of time its developers spend working on non-core components of Firefox. As a non-profit, it’s important for the Mozilla Foundation to keep costs at a minimum.

As Mozilla Senior Director of Engineering Johnny Stenback explains, Project Mortar will allow Mozilla to have a stronger focus on advancing the web and reduce the complexity and long-term maintenance cost of Firefox by replacing non-core pieces of its platform with existing alternatives like those from other browser vendors.

Initially, Project Mortar will investigate how Firefox handles PDF rendering and look for lower cost approaches to providing Flash support as its use continues to decline. Right now, the project is determining the feasibility of using the minimum set of Pepper APIs to support the PDFium library for rendering PDF documents as well as the Pepper Flash plugin.

As The Register highlights, PDFium is Chrome’s open-source native PDF viewer. The Adobe / Google-built Pepper Flash player, for those not familiar, runs inside a sandbox in an effort to limit the amount of damage that malicious code could do when exploiting a vulnerability in the plugin.

Stenback notes that if these experiments are successful, it will allow them to completely remove NPAPI support from Firefox once NPAPI is disabled for general plugin use.

Microsoft becomes the latest major player to exit the smartwatch industry

By Shawn Knight on October 3, 2016, 4:45 PM

Last month it was revealed that three of the largest Android Wear partners – LG, Huawei and Motorola – had no intentions of launching any new smartwatches or fitness trackers this fall. Now, it seems as though Microsoft has hopped off the wearables bandwagon as well.

As of today, Microsoft has scrubbed every mention of its Band line of wearables from its online store and pulled the Band SDK from its developer portal. Best Buy has followed suit as well and according to The Verge, Amazon will no longer carry the wearable once its current supply runs dry.

A Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet that they have sold through their existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year. That said, the spokesperson did say that Microsoft will continue to support Band 2 customers through the Microsoft Store and their customer support channels. Microsoft will also continue to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, we’re told.

ZDNet also heard last month that Microsoft had disbanded (no pun intended) the small group that was working to get Windows 10 onto the wearable.

Microsoft entered the wearables industry in late 2014 with Band, its fitness-tracking smartband. A year later (last October), the Redmond-based company launched its second-generation Band 2.

With three major Android players and Microsoft now having pulled out of the market, one can only wonder how long smartwatches will persist without a killer, must-have app.
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