Category: Business

Windows security cure is sorting out Admin rights


More than 94
percent of Windows vulnerabilities are mitigated by removing admin rights, according to a team of insecurity experts.

Avecto, which has issued its annual Microsoft Vulnerabilities report and found that there were 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities reported in 2016, and of these critical vulnerabilities,

All vulnerabilities impacting both Internet Explorer and Edge could be mitigated by removing admin rights, Avecto reported.

Mark Austin, co-founder and CEO of Avecto, said that privilege management and application control should be the cornerstone of your endpoint security strategy, building up from there to create ever stronger, multiple layers of defense.

“These measures can have a dramatic impact on your ability to mitigate today’s attacks. Times have changed; removing admin rights and controlling applications is no longer difficult to achieve,” he said.

Windows 10 was found to have the highest proportion of vulnerabilities of any OS (395), 46 per cent more than Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (265 each).

Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities in 2016, up from 62 in 2015 and just 20 in 2014. This data includes Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and the various applications. Removing admin rights would mitigate 99 per cent of the vulnerabilities in older versions and all of those vulnerabilities would be mitigated in Office 2016.

Avecto said this method of turning off admin privileges works alongside tools such as antivirus to proactively prevent malware from executing in the first place, rather than relying on detection and response after the event.

Nokia releases ancient phone

Nokia has just released a brightly coloured version of the classic 3310 talk and text phone which was the world’s most popular device 17 years ago.

Yup, it looks like we are all waking up in the Year 2000, the only thing different is a slightly bigger screen and a $52 price tag.  You can have 22 hours of talk time and up to one month of standby time too.

The 3310 is a retro gambit and Nokia also launched four moderately priced smartphones ranging from 139 to 299 euros.

Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that people loved the brand and claimed it had a lot of affection from millions and millions of people.

Once the world’s dominant phonemaker, Nokia in 2014 sold its by-then ailing handset operations to Microsoft for $7 billion, leaving it with its network equipment business and a large patent portfolio.

Last year, it gave the Nokia brand a fresh start by licensing its devices brand to HMD Global, a new company led by ex-Nokia executives and backed by Chinese electronics giant Foxconn.

Industry analysts say the revived Nokia 3310 has the makings of one of the hit devices of 2017, appealing to older Nokia fans in developed markets looking for an antidote to smartphone overload, while also appealing to younger crowds in emerging markets.

The original 3310 sold 126 million phones, the 12th best-selling phone model in history. Nine of the top 12 selling models were produced by Nokia.

The other three three smartphones are cheap Androids. The Nokia 6 smartphone has a 5.5-inch screen, the Nokia 5 with a 5.2-inch screen and the Nokia 3 with a 5.0-inch screen.

It also offered a limited edition of the Nokia 6 with added features retailing for around 299 euros.

 

HP does well this quarter

The maker of expensive printer ink HP appears to have turned a corner.

It reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, largely helped by a stabilizing PC market. Revenue rose to $12.68 billion from $12.25 billion.

However, the company’s net earnings from continuing operations fell to $611 million in the first quarter ended 31 January from $650 million a year earlier. This indicates that HP is not out of the woods yet.

The results were better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted most expected $11.85 billion in revenue.

HP’s results included personal systems (what HP calls PCs) revenue of $8.25 billion, a 10 percent gain from a year ago. Total PC units sold rose eight percent, with notebook shipments rising 12 percent. Desktop PC sales stayed flat with the year-ago period.

HP’s largest source of profit is the ink and toner business which has been hit by competitors selling less-expensive ink cartridges and a general decline in printing of documents, especially by younger people.

Sales in that segment fell three percent in the latest quarter, improving from a 16 per cent drop in full fiscal year 2016.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak said the results were clear proof point that we’re on the march to stabilise supplies, revenue and constant currency by the end of this year.

Mobile Dialog expects good revenue growth

 

The maker of chips for Apple and Samsung said it expected “good revenue growth” in 2017, indicating a bumper year for high end consumer devices.

Dialog Semiconductor depends for about three quarters of its revenues on smartphone makers, in January already reported a five percent rise in fourth quarter sales to $365 million.

Dialog on Thursday said it expected sales of $255-$285 million in the first quarter of 2017, up from the $241 million it made in the year-earlier quarter.

Hopes for strong chip deliveries to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy have lifted the stock to a 17-month high, gaining 19 percent so far, this year and more than doubling from the 23.21 euro it hit in June.

Apple and Samsung are launching their new smartphones in the coming weeks. Expectations are high, especially for the 10 year edition of the iPhone, contains Dialog’s power management chip.

 

Sony releases the world’s fastest SD card

Sony has expanded its memory card line-up with the addition of the SF-G series cards – offering what it is claiming some rather impressive ultra-high-speed read and write times.

The SF-G series is supposed to be the world’s fastest SD card and is designed for high-performance DSLR or mirrorlesscameras, offering up to 299MB/sii write speeds, contributing to longer high-speed continuous burst mode shooting for high-resolution images with cameras supporting UHS-II.

Sony said the SF-G cards will allow more effective continuous burst mode shooting for high-resolution images so long as the camera in question supports UHS-II.

Write speeds will also be of considerable benefit to the wide range of high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras that are capable of shooting 4K quality video. Faster write speeds also mean a shorter buffer clearing time, when shooting fast-moving action.

The series’ read speed is reaches up to 300MB/s, resulting in faster and smoother performance when transferring large files across to other devices for editing and sharing.

Available in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB from March 2017, all versions of the cards are compatible with Sony’s free file rescue software, for recovering lost content. No word on pricing yet.

Alongside the SF-G series, Sony has also introduced a new memory card reader, the MRW-S1, due for release in April. It features an in-built SuperSpeed USB port for cable-free PC connection, so that your files can be copied faster than by using the slower SD slot on a PC.

Tosh will flog off most of its chip business

Troubled Toshiba will raise $8.8 billion by selling most of its flash memory chip business, seeking to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems.

Tosh has been talking about flogging off part of its successful Flash memory business for a while because that would sort its problems out a bit quicker.

But it decided to abandon that cunning plan to sell just 19.9 percent at the instigation of its main creditor banks which are worried about potential writedowns that may come on top of $6.3 billion hit to its US nuclear unit.

Prioritising its need to raise capital, Toshiba said last week it is now prepared to sell a majority stake or even all its prized chip business.

Toshiba has not decided on the size of the stake to be sold, preferring to focus on the amount that can be raised although it would like to retain a one-third holding that would give it a degree of control over the business, sources in the outfit have leaked.

The sale is the best and the only way Toshiba can raise a large amount of funds and wipe out concerns about its credit risk. The sale should be completed by the end of March next year.

It wants to restart the sale process as soon as possible and may sell to multiple buyers rather than one bidder with interest already received from investment funds, other chipmakers and client companies, he also said.

Other potential financial risks that Toshiba may have to deal with include Landis+Gyr AG, an unlisted German meter maker it acquired in 2011 and whose earnings have not matched expectations.

When Toshiba was offering 19.9 percent of its chip unit, it received offers ranging from $1.8 billion to $3.5 billion.

Western Digital is still interested in buying a stake in Toshiba, two sources said without specifying how big a holding it would be prepared to buy. The California-based firm and Toshiba jointly operate a NAND flash memory plant in Japan.

VW refuses to give British a payout in diesel emissions scandal

Hitler’s favourite car company, VW, has denied that Brits were deceived during its emissions testing scandal and unlike everywhere else in the world its Blighty customers will not get any compensation.

For those who came in late, VW diesels were fitted with software which could tell that they were being tested for emissions and tune themselves to pass. VW has forked out millions to make watchdogs and regulators worldwide go away.

However, Paul Willis, the auto company’s UK managing director said that while the German outfit might have tried the stunt in most places in the world, it did not advertise these cars in the UK based on its nitrogen oxide emissions.

He claimed that VW had neither done anything wrong in the country nor had it misled anyone. The company maintained that there is no “legal basis” for compensation in the UK.

In Europe, Volkswagen admitted to tampering with 8.5 million vehicles to cheat emissions tests but it said that the software did not amount to a “defeat device” under EU law.

Willis added that 470,000 of the UK diesel vehicles, which were affected from the emissions scandal, had been fixed by the company. This is less than half of the 1.2 million vehicles of Audi, Porsche, VW, Skoda and Seat brands that were found to be affected.

Willis explained that the delay was partly amid the need for EU regulatory approvals before installing the new software. He said VW had to wait for many regulators, including those in Germany and the UK, to approve the proposed fixes to the cars. Some approvals, he said were received as late as December 2016.

While UK customers might be angry that they are the only ones in the world not receiving any compensation, Willis said there was no comparison between the situation in the US and Europe, because VW said so.

It does seem odd that VW seems to believe that it can get out of paying its British customers compensation while having to fork out money to practically every other country in the world.

Transport Minister Chris Grayling, to seek more detailed information that would allow take further steps. He added that launching a legal action against VW had still not been ruled out.

Gemalto teams up with Microsoft


Security outfit Gemalto i
s teaming up with Microsoft to release of its On Demand Connectivity and eSIM technology for Windows 10 devices.

Gemalto’s works with the release GSM Association (GSMA) new specifications and guidelines for remote SIM provisioning.

Based around a subscription system, Gemalto’s On-Demand Connectivity works with Windows 10 native eSIM support. It is designed to be remotely provisioned by mobile network operators with subscription information and is globally interoperable across all carriers, device makers and technology providers implementing the specification.

This technology will serve as the framework devices of all shapes and sizes use to connect to operator networks. The first wave of devices with this technology is expected to be available to consumers by Christmas.

Roanne Sones, General Manager, Strategy and Ecosystem for Windows and Devices, Microsoft said that eSIM technology remains an important investment for Microsoft as it looks to create even more mobile computing opportunities

“As a key component for the Always Connected Windows experience, we worked closely with Gemalto to develop a solution that meets the new GSMA guidelines.”

Rodrigo Serna, Senior Vice President of Mobile Services and IoT Americas at Gemalto said that Gemalto has created a complete range of subscription management software and services to manage the eSIM life cycle in mobile devices.

“We will continue to work closely with Microsoft and the GSMA to further these advances while protecting the security of end users, who rely on their mobile devices to make everyday life easier.”

Techdirt asks court to throw out email defamation suit

Michael Masnick, who founded the Techdirt blog and invented the “Streisand effect.” has asked a court for a defamation lawsuit against him to be thrown out.

Masnick was sued last month by Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist and entrepreneur who claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 while at a medical college in New Jersey.

In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai “is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame”.

His suit says: “Defendants believe that because the critical elements of electronic mail were developed long before Ayyadurai’s 1978 computer program, his claim to be the “inventor of e-mail” is false”.

Techdirt’s allegedly defamatory statements are constitutionally protected opinion. “This lawsuit is a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai’s grandiose claims”, Masnick’s lawyers wrote.

The tricky point of the court case appears to be the fact that Techdirt referred to Ayyadurai as a “fake,” a “liar,” or a “fraud” by putting forth “bogus” claims. Masnick insists that such phrases are “rhetorical hyperbole” meant to express opinions and said that the law provides no redress for harsh name-calling.

Techdirt uses “frequently sarcastic, obviously… humorous” subheadings and “casual and often hyperbolic” tone.

Masnick said that the Ayyadurai repeatedly attacks the conclusion that he is not the ‘inventor of email. But bo matter how fervently plaintiff may insist that he alone “invented email,” the law does not entitle him to recover damages simply because Techdirt has uttered a “subjective characterisation” to the contrary.

Both Ayyadurai and Masnick acknowledge that the MAILBOX program was created at MIT in the 1960s and that Ray Tomlinson created the “@” symbol protocol in 1971.

Ayyadurai calls the ARPANET creations “command-line protocols for transferring text messages” or “primitive electronic communication systems.” In Masnick’s view, Ayyadurai doesn’t dispute the historical facts, but instead “attacks Techdirt’s opinion that because those developments implemented the essential features of ’email’ therefore Ayyadurai’s claimed ‘inventor’ status is unwarranted.”

Techdirt admits that Ayyadurai created a useful software program while he was at UMDNJ and even “applauds it.” Masnick also said Ayyadurai “should be quite proud of what he’s done”.

Techdirt’s “general tenor” reinforces that it is a blog of opinionated commentary. The posts in question were written in first person, “resemble letters and op-ed columns,” and relate to a “heated debate” over the origins of email that dates to at least 2012.

Masnick asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out under California’s anti-SLAPP law. If successful, an anti-SLAPP ruling could result in some of his legal fees being covered.

That motion argues that California law should be followed because Masnick, Techdirt.com, and parent company Floor64 all reside in California and have no connections to Massachusetts, where Ayyadurai lives and filed his lawsuit.

Part of the problem here is that Tech Dirt does not really have the money to be fighting this case, nor can it afford to lose. Ayyadurai has already settled one case in his favour because the magazine in question went bust and had to pay him off.

Blackberry sued by former workers

Troubled phone maker Blackberry is facing a class-action lawsuit from more than 300 former employees.

The outfit is accused of denying employees their termination entitlements by transferring them to a partner company and, once they had accepted employment there, firing them. The former employees were then allegedly given their final date of work.

“Blackberry’s actions amount to a termination of the employees’ employment. This entitles these employees to statutory, common law, and/or contractual entitlements on termination.”

Blackberry hasn’t commented on the case yet, though the suit said that it has refused to pay those entitlements and the transferred employees have lost their accumulated years of service.

In 2016, Blackberry also laid off around 200 employees from Waterloo and Florida, which followed an announcement in 2012 to cut over 5,000 jobs over the a multi-year period.

Blackberry is going down the toilet lately. No one is buying its phones and its current business plan is to flog its software and general patent trollage.

Blackerry said that it has reviewed the allegations in the lawsuit, and was confident it complied with all its obligations to its employees. It said the case “lacks merit”, and it will defend it “vigorously”.