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20 Apr 2022

This devious new malware targets your DVR

A new variant of the BotenaGo malware that exclusively targets DVR for security camera systems has been spotted in the wild by security researchers.

For those unfamiliar, BotenaGo is a relatively new malware written in Google’s open source Golang programming language. While it was originally used to target IoT devices in an effort to create botnets, BotenaGo’s source code was leaked online back in October of last year.

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In the time since, cybercriminals have developed several new variants of the malware while also improving the original by adding new exploits to target millions of connected devices.

Now though, Nozomi Networks Labs has discovered a new variant that appears to be derived from the leaked source code. However, the sample analyzed by the firm’s security researchers exclusively targets Lilin security camera DVR devices which is why it has been dubbed “Lillin scanner”.

Lillin BotenaGo variant

Another thing that sets Lillin scanner apart from the original BotenaGo malware is that the variant is currently undetected by every antivirus engine on VirusTotal.

According to a report from BleepingComputer, this could be because the malware variant’s authors have removed all of the exploits found in the original BotenaGo. Instead, they’ve written the malware to only focus on Lilin DVRs by exploiting a two-year-old critical remote code execution vulnerability. Casting a smaller net for potential targets makes sense in this case as there are still a significant number of unpatched Lilin DVR devices in the wild.

An additional key difference between BotenaGo and Lillin scanner is that the new malware variant leverages an external mass-scanning tool to create lists of the IP addresses of vulnerable devices. Nozomi’s researchers also highlight the fact in their blog post on the matter that the cybercriminals behind Lillin scanner have specifically programmed it to avoid infecting IP addresses that belong to the US Department of Defense (DOD), the US Postal Service (USPS), General Electric, Hewlett Packard and other businesses.

Once a vulnerable device is infected by Lillin scanner, Mirai payloads are then downloaded and executed on it. Still though, this new BotenaGo variant isn’t such a massive threat as it only targets devices from a specific manufacturer.

Via BleepingComputer

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Microsoft launches new 'one-stop-shop' for data management

As organizations have made the transition to remote and hybrid work, they’ve seen a massive increase in their digital footprint which is why Microsoft has introduced a new set of solutions to help them govern, protect and manage their entire data estate.

According to a blog post, Microsoft Purview is a new brand family that combines the capabilities of Azure Purview and the Microsoft 365 Compliance portfolio to provide unified data governance and risk management for businesses.

The software giant’s new set of solutions helps organizations gain visibility into assets across their entire data estate while also enabling easy access to all of their data, security and risk solutions. At the same time, Microsoft Purview helps safeguard and manage data across clouds, apps and endpoints.

This is done by bringing together data governance from Microsoft Data and AI along with compliance and risk management from Microsoft Security. However, Microsoft Purview is complemented by identity and access management, threat protection, cloud security, endpoint management and privacy management capabilities to create a comprehensive approach to security.

Microsoft Purview

As organizations now operate across multiple clouds and on-premises platforms, Microsoft has expanded Purview’s capabilities to include data protection for macOS users running Catalina or higher.

In order to identify sensitive data more accurately before it’s shared, the company has extended its sensitive information type catalog with over 50 new classifiers. These new classifiers are available for data loss prevention (DLP), Information Protection (auto-labeling), Data Lifecycle Management, Insider Risk Management, Records Management, eDiscovery and Microsoft Priva.

As employees working from home or in the field regularly access files from multiple locations, devices and apps, Microsoft is previewing co-authoring of encrypted documents on mobile. This allows multiple users to work simultaneously on Microsoft 365 apps and documents with autosave on their iPhone or Android smartphone.

The company is also previewing multi-stage retention in Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management (formerly Microsoft Information Governance) which automatically applies a new label when an item reaches the end of its retention period.

We’ll likely hear more from Microsoft regarding Purview once organizations begin using the new set of solutions to better manage their data.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Brave, DuckDuckGo just gave you another way to flip Google the middle finger

Brave has announced that its web browser will now allow users to bypass AMP pages hosted by Google, which it claims are harmful to both privacy and the state of the web.

The new De-AMP feature will instead funnel web users to content hosted directly on the publisher’s website, minimizing the opportunity for additional tracking and meddling to take place.

Not to be outdone, rival privacy software company DuckDuckGo rushed to Twitter to reveal that its apps and extensions now offer similar functionality, but the specifics of the implementation are not yet clear.

Google’s AMP troubles

Rolled out in 2015, AMP (short for accelerated mobile pages) is a system whereby stripped-back versions of trending web pages are preloaded and served up via Google servers.

When AMP was first announced, Google said it beleived the system would help ensure rich web content such as video and animation would load rapidly and behave consistently across all platforms, thereby improving the web experience.

However, the scheme has come under criticism from publishers and privacy advocates alike, who say AMP gives Google yet more signals to gobble up in support of its digital advertising business, creates confusion as to the source of information and forces publishers to build their websites to Google’s desired spec.

“AMP harms users’ privacy, security and internet experience, and just as bad, AMP helps Google further monopolize and control the direction of the web,” wrote Brave, in a blog post.

And in a Twitter thread, DuckDuckGo presented a similar justification for its decision to move against the initiative.

“AMP technology is bad for privacy because it enables Google to track users even more,” said the firm. “And Google uses AMP to further entrench its monopoly, forcing the technology on publishers by prioritizing AMP links in search and favoring Google ads on AMP pages.”

Since the launch of AMP, a number of publishers (including Future plc., parent to TechRadar Pro) have abandoned the system. And now, browser vendors like Brave and DuckDuckGo are coming out with their own tools to help web users bypass AMP altogether.

“Where possible, De-AMP will rewrite links and URLs to prevent users from visiting AMP pages altogether,” explained Brave. “And in cases where that is not possible, Brave will watch as pages are being fetched and redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is even rendered, preventing AMP/Google code from being loaded and executed.”

Brave’s De-AMP feature is now available in both Nightly and Beta versions of its browser and will be enabled by default in the next full public release. TechRadar Pro is awaiting further specifics about DuckDuckGo’s efforts.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Tim Cook under fire over Final Cut Pro - and rightly so

Some of the world's top TV and film editors are not happy with Apple’s handling of Final Cut Pro - and they’re letting the company know about it. 

In an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, over 100 production professionals are calling on the company to publicly commit to building the video editing software into an industry-standard tool. 

The frustrated filmmakers praise Final Cut Pro (FCP) as “the biggest leap forward in editing technology since the move to digital” - before lambasting  the company for failing to support the tool’s integration into professional film and TV production. Effectively, the authors believe FCP is strong enough to compete with the likes of Avid, but isn’t living up to its full potential. 

Oscar-worthy?

Published on GoPetition, the letter states :“If Apple renewed its public commitment to the professional filmmaking industry and its visionary product, we believe an increasing number of editors would discover the joys of using Final Cut Pro.” 

Ending with a pointed coda, the group bitterly notes that despite Apple TV+ recently becoming the first streaming platform to win the Best Picture Oscar, it’s unlikely the crew behind CODA would’ve chosen to edit the hit film with Final Cut Pro. 

‘Plans for the future’

In a supporting statement, Galliano Olivier, editor on the French drama Marianne, explains: “In France, it is extremely difficult to get permission to edit TV with Final Cut Pro. You can’t use it without fighting producers, directors, post-production supervisors, sound editors.” 

Knut Hake, editor for Netflix exclusive Bloody Red Sky, agrees, suggesting a public beta program for the video editing tool “would make a big difference for workflow consultants, systems integrators and third-party developers… it would make it much easier for people to fit Final Cut into their plans for the future.”

In a bid to increase platform adoption and tempt new editors over to FCP, the co-signatories also request the introduction of industry-specific features that have long been missing from the NLE software. 

However, Apple may need to do more than release a few patches to make Final Cut Pro the professional editing software of choice. Steve Sanders, editor-in-chief for Fox’s War of the Worlds, highlights another major problem: lack of collaboration. He said, “editing big productions needs collaboration. Different users have to be able to access the same library at the same time. There is no way around this. Avid Media Composer does it and even DaVinci Resolve does it. Apple still targets the single user. They have to change that.” 

The editors’ open letter comes just days after Apple released its latest version of Final Cut Pro. But it’ll take more than voice isolation, duplicate detection, and Mac Studio optimization to legitimize FCP in the eyes of the industry.  

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

AMD’s new Ryzen Pro 6000 CPUs apparently crush Intel in an all-important contest

AMD has launched a new series of processors designed to underpin the fastest and most energy-efficient mobile workstations on the market.

Announced at CES 2022, the Ryzen Pro 6000 series is made up of eight distinct SKUs, topped and tailed by the eight-core Ryzen 9 Pro 69050H and six-core Ryzen 5 Pro 6650U, respectively.

The launch of the new range marks the first time AMD’s Zen 3+ architecture features in a CPU for business laptops, bringing with it support for the latest DDR5 memory and Wi-Fi 6E networking technologies.

Battery is king

During a presentation attended by TechRadar Pro, AMD laid out the performance gains achieved by its new Ryzen Pro 6000 CPUs. As ever, the specific comparisons were carefully selected, but nonetheless offered some indication as to what we can expect.

In comparison to Intel's 12th Gen Core-i7 chips, the new Ryzen processors are said to offer up to 17% performance uplift across common collaboration and video conferencing workloads, and up to 15% greater performance for office software.

The attribute AMD is most eager to shout about is battery life, however, which has become all the more important since the transition to a hybrid working model.

AMD Ryzen Pro 6000

(Image credit: AMD)

“IT decision-makers and professionals have different expectations for their business laptops than they did two years ago. Today, employees want the best experience, all-day battery life and cutting-edge connectivity,” said Matt Unangst, who heads up the commercial client business at AMD.

“AMD is uniquely positioned to help laptop OEMs meet professionals where their expectations are, and we are laser focused on delivering leadership solutions.”

The company says its Zen 3+ architecture offers an unrivalled power-to-efficiency ratio, with up to 45% longer battery life for video conferencing over Microsoft Teams in comparison to Intel’s Core i7-1260P. And overall, AMD claims customers can expect well over 24 hours’ worth of battery life from the new range.

Laptops powered by the Ryzen Pro 6000 series - including the new ThinkPad Z from Lenovo and HP Elitebook G9 – are expected to hit the market later this quarter.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Google Cloud is launching an exclusive AI management platform

Artificial intelligence is becoming ever more ubiquitous among businesses, but a new platform available via Google Cloud promises to further accelerate this growth.

Prevision.io, a new pay-as-you-go solution, claims to allow companies outside of the Fortune 500, which lack extensive data science knowledge, to build, deploy, and manage AI projects in the cloud

The Paris-based start-up behind the platform, founded in 2016 and led by chief executive Tuncay Isik, says its customers include delivery company La Poste, French banking group BPCE Group, and pharmaceutical company MLOps.

The solution has been built on Google Cloud itself and is now available on Google Cloud Marketplace.

How does it work?

Prevision.io says users can start building and deploying models immediately after subscribing via Google Cloud Marketplace, with no long-term contracts, licensing, or per-user fees.

Once historical data is imported, whether it exists in buckets or in an SQL data source like BigQuery, users can start applying their own models inside Prevision.io, or use the platform to build their own model.

Customers can use Prevision.io to experiment with new machine learning models, automate training and prediction tasks, and deploy scalable working models, as well as to monitor infrastructure and model behavior to understand changes in resource utilization and underlying data.

Prevision.io claims its use cases include allowing utilities companies to better forecast their energy consumption, as well as enabling transportation companies to build machine learning models that can inform logistical operations based on fluctuating supply and demand.

User spending on Prevision.io's platform will be added to their overall spending on Google Cloud. 

Google Cloud has continued to expand the range of products it offers over the past year. Earlier this month, the company announced it is expanding into the data lake storage business through a new product called BigLake, which is based on its BigQuery service.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Google Docs is having some serious issues with its new 'inclusive language' warnings

Google is nothing if not helpful: the search giant has built its reputation on making the internet more accessible and easier to navigate. But not all of its innovations are either clever or welcome. 

Take the latest change to Google Docs, which aims to highlight examples of non-inclusive language through pop-up warnings. 

You might think this is a good idea, helping to avoid "chairman" or "fireman" and other gendered language – and you'd be right. But Google has taken things a step further than it really needed to, leading to some pretty hilarious results.

Inclusive?

A viral tweet was the first warning sign that perhaps, just perhaps, this feature was a little overeager to correct common word usages. After all, is "landlord" really an example of of "words that may not be inclusive to all readers"? 

As Vice has ably demonstrated, Google's latest update to Docs – while undoubtedly well-intentioned – is annoying and broken, jumping in to suggest corrections to some things while blatantly ignoring others. 

See more

A good idea, poorly executed 

The idea behind the feature is well-meaning and will likely help in certain cases. The execution, on the other hand, is poor. 

Vice found that Docs suggested more inclusive language in a range of scenarios, such as for "annoyed" or "Motherboard", but failed to suggest anything when a speech from neo-Nazi Klan leader David Duke was pasted in, containing the N-word. 

In fact, Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto – a legendary piece of literature – got more edits than Duke's speech, including suggesting "police officers" instead of "policemen". 

All in all, it's the latest example of an AI-powered feature that seems like a good idea but in practice has more holes than a Swiss cheese. 

Helping people write in a more inclusive way is a lofty goal, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired and, ultimately, makes the process of writing harder. 

Via Vice

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Cloud computing is set for a massive spending boost in 2022

Businesses’ growing desire for more and more public cloud services is showing no signs of slowing down, according to the latest figures from Gartner. 

The analyst house predicted global public cloud spending will rise 20.4% in 2022 to a total of $494.7 billion, up from $410.9 billion in 2021.

In 2023, Gartner predicts end-user spending on public cloud computing will reach nearly $600 billion.

Higher demand

“Cloud is the powerhouse that drives today’s digital organizations,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs are beyond the era of irrational exuberance of procuring cloud services and are being thoughtful in their choice of public cloud providers to specific, desired business and technology outcomes in their digital transformation journey.”

As many employees continue to work from home, Gartner claims hybrid working is encouraging organizations to move away from traditional computing solutions such as desktops and physical in-office tools, and towards desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions.

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is set to be the largest driver of end-user public cloud spending growth according to Gartner, growing 30.6% in 2022.

The analyst house expects spending on DaaS to grow 26.6% and spending on platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to grow 26.1% in 2022.

In addition, demand by end-users for PaaS is predicted to grow to $109.6 billion.

SaaS remains on top

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is set to remain the largest segment of the public cloud services market, and Gartner forecasts spending on SaaS by end users will reach $176.6 billion in 2022.

The analyst house predicts businesses will continue to break up larger, monolithic applications into composable parts for DevOps processes.

Gartner also predicts that emerging technologies in cloud computing such as hyperscale edge computing and secure access service edge (SASE) will create additional revenue streams for public cloud providers.

“Cloud native capabilities such as containerisation, database platform-as-a-service (dbPaaS) and AI/machine learning contain richer features than commoditised compute such as IaaS or network-as-a-service,” said Gartner’s Nag. “As a result, they are generally more expensive which is fuelling spending growth.” 

The news comes after Gartner predicted earlier this month that global IT spending is set to reach a total of $4.4tn this year despite rising inflation, geopolitical disruption and ongoing talent shortages.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

GPUs are back on the shelves – is the shortage finally over?

Reddit users are starting to report that graphics card availability has increased over the last few weeks, posting images and videos taken from stores that are displaying plentiful stock of popular GPUs.

It's a far cry from this time last year, when the best graphics cards were being snapped up online en mass by bots, and people had to queue around several blocks if they wanted to try and purchase a card from a brick and mortar store.

we_are_emerging_from_dark_age from r/pcmasterrace

Most of the images appear to be taken at various Micro Center stores across the US, so it's also worth noting that while this is good news for those who live in the States, it's not an accurate representation of the global market, with some users noting that other regions such as Eastern Europe are still facing shortages.

micro_center_stock from r/pcmasterrace

There is another positive to come from this though – while almost every GPU is still listed at a price over its MSRP, availability was one of the forces driving these price increases in the first place. 

With stock now so readily available, it's not impossible that the current generation of cards from the AMD RDNA 2 and Nvidia Ampere family could be available at the price they were supposed to be selling for at launch... albeit by the time that the next GPU generation launches.

i_forgot_to_record_the_shelf_with_the_3050_3060 from r/pcmasterrace

We're already seeing prices start to plummet too, so while you might find cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 are still more expensive than they should be, they're becoming more affordable with each passing month. That said, there's no guarantee that we will see current GPUs completely drop to their MSRP given inflation and various other market conditions that have appeared over the last two years.

Waiting a little while longer may still drop the prices though, so we're certainly in a much better place than we were last year. If you've been waiting for the GeForce RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800XT to fall to a reasonable price, now is your chance to snap one up.


Analysis: Why is the GPU market improving?

There's no singular reason that we're seeing these improvements, rather, a mix of various changes have collectively helped to boost availability, and reduce demand in areas outside of PC gaming and building enthusiasts.

Mining Ethereum using commercial cards is no longer as viable as it was now that the cryptocurrency has moved to proof-of-stake, chip production has been steadily recovering to meet demands and we're about to see more competition hit the market with the Intel Arc Alchemist desktop graphics card, introducing team blue to the current duopoly of AMD and Nvidia.

It's unlikely that Intel's offerings can go toe-to-toe with the heavy hitters such as the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, but it could bring more affordable cards to consumers who don't need that much power. This makes for a great first GPU, especially if you're planning to run low-demand games and applications. 

Many major manufacturers all predicted that the GPU market should see some huge improvement by at least 2023, and the current data we're seeing does appear to back this up. If you're waiting for prices to drop further than there's a good chance they will, but it's unlikely we will see any of the flagship cards fall under MSRP, and cheap GPUs may even be a thing of the past entirely. For now at least, there's hope for those who have been waiting for two years to upgrade their system or build their first PC.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Many workers really aren't enjoying the return to the office

As the pandemic begins to recede, workers are returning to offices around the world – but don't seem particularly happy about it. 

According to a global survey by Slack, as part of its Future Forum event, workers are less than pleased to be back commuting to the office. 

Around 34% of "knowledge workers" – ie, those who predominantly work on a computer – have returned to the office, says Slack, and employee experience scores are plummeting. 

A lack of flexibility 

Those surveyed reported a 2x decline in work-life balance, compared to remote or hybrid working, and a 1.5x decline in overall satisfaction with their work environment. 

Interestingly, non-executives are nearly 2x as likely to be working in the office five days per week than executives, suggesting those at the top are not heeding their own rules. 

The crux of the issues for such workers is the lack of flexibility that having to go into the office provides – you can't spontaneously walk your dog, look after your kid, sit in the garden, and so on if you aren't at home.

Around 65% of those surveyed said there was no flexibility to adjust their work hours, leading to a drop in their experiences scores and a higher likelihood of looking for a new job in the future.

The new new normal? 

While the pandemic was devastating for so many reasons, the enforced shift towards remote working – at least for those who could – was a big, big win for workers. 

Commutes were obliterated, freeing up mornings and evenings for other activities, and home offices improved dramatically. It was, in many ways, a good time. 

But bosses, eager to use their expensive office space and have more oversight over employees, are increasingly insisting on a return to offices across the world. 

As the Slack survey shows, this isn't always news that employees love and the long-term effects, like moving between jobs, will be interesting to observe over the coming years. 

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Okta claims its Lapsus$ data breach only affected two customers

Okta has looked to play down fears that it was affected by a major data breach earlier this year.

The identity management giant has revealed the final findings of its investigation into an attack in January 2022, reportedly at the hands of the notorious Lapsus$ hacking group.

It had been thought that hundreds of Okta's 150,000-plus customers, including some big corporate names, had been affected, but fortunately, the company now believes this was not the case.

Lapsus$ fails to strike?

In a blog post announcing the findings, Okta Chief Security Officer David Bradbury outlined that the incident was caused by the "compromise" of a third-party vendor, named only as a, "third-party forensic firm, engaged by our vendor Sitel".

Bradbury notes that having thoroughly gone through its reports and systems, Okta found that the hacker (who also remains unnamed and unattributed for now) was only able to actively control a single workstation for 25 consecutive minutes on January 21, 2022.

The blog goes on to note that this "threat actor" was able to access the details of two Okta customers through its SuperUser app, including viewing, "limited additional information in certain other applications like Slack and Jira that cannot be used to perform actions in Okta customer tenants."

Okta says it has notified and held full debriefs with both of the affected customers, but notes that the threat actor was unable to "perform any configuration changes, MFA or password resets, or customer support “impersonation” events" or "authenticate directly to any Okta accounts".

"While the overall impact of the compromise has been determined to be significantly smaller than we initially scoped, we recognize the broad toll this kind of compromise can have on our customers and their trust in Okta," Bradbury concludes.

He goes on to note that Okta will be making a series of changes and improvements to its security practices going forward, including, "reviewing our security processes and pushing for new ways to accelerate updates from third parties and internally for potential issues, both big and small."

The company says it will also now directly manage all devices of third parties that access our customer support tools, giving it greater oversight on network access and also look to adopt new systems that help us to communicate more rapidly with customers on security and availability issues.

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Developers are split over Web3 and the future of the web

Web3, blockchains, crypto are undoubtedly set to form part, if not all of the future of the internet - but how do developers, the people actually building the tools, feel about these technological innovations?

Stack Overflow polled 595 developers on their views on Web3 and blockchains, two areas that could form the heart of the next phase of the internet, and discovered some very differing thoughts. 

Opinion on Web3 was divided, with 25% saying Web3 is the future of the internet, although 15% said it was a bunch of hype, 14% think it was important for crypto and related apps, and 9% said it was a scam. 

Believing the hype?

Interestingly, a further 36% – so the largest group of all – asked "What's Web3", which points to the confused nature of the branding, which is often promoted by venture capitalists, such as Chris Dixon at a16z.

We hear a lot about Web3, especially from people building things in the space, but the exact definitions and dimensions of the technology, besides a reliance on some kind of blockchain, remains heavily contested. 

Blocking the road 

Many technologists agree that while Web3 in its present form is full of scams and deceit – just look at how many multi-million-dollar-plus hacks and "rug pulls" there have been – blockchains represent a really interesting development. 

Decentralising control of a database is, according to proponents, something that could have many uses as the technology sector develops and grows. 

But do developers agree? 

According to Stack Overflow, 85% of the developers surveyed hadn't built anything using a blockchain (and of those who had, 62% did so as a hobby). 

31% were developing a blockchain for work, most likely for a software company, and over half (55%) who did so for work did it as a side project. 

New developers were the most inclined to be interesting in blockchains. 20% to 30% of new developers are searching Stack Overflow for resources on developing such things. 

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Intel Arc Alchemist laptops finally listed in the US and UK, but you can't buy one yet

Several new Intel Arc Alchemist laptops have been listed on retailer sites in the US and UK, signaling that Intel's long-awaited discrete GPU might finally make it into consumers' hands after months if not years of waiting.

The listings are limited to a few Lenovo and HP laptops on a smattering of websites, and only feature the Intel Arc A370M mobile GPU, which is a fairly entry-level GPU compared to the A500-series and A700-series GPUs that Intel is planning on releasing later this year. However, it is a step up from the only other Intel Arc GPU in the wild, the A350M. This latter GPU is only an option on the Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro for now, and it isn't available outside of Asia yet.

Image 1 of 3

Listing for a laptop with Intel Arc A370M GPU in the US and UK

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Listing for a laptop with Intel Arc A370M GPU in the US and UK

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Listing for a laptop with Intel Arc A370M GPU in the US and UK

(Image credit: Future)

The new laptops also vary fairly wildly in price, with the 15.6-inch Lenovo IdeaPad 3i gaming laptop selling for £761 and £849 on Lambda-Tek and Currys, respectively, in the UK. In the US, meanwhile, the 15.6-inch Asus ZenBook Flip 2-in-1 is listed at $1,399, and the 16-inch HP Spectre 2-in-1 listed at $1,999 at Best Buy.

None of the laptops are actually available for order yet, with each listing saying it is coming soon or out of stock, but the fact that the laptops are listed at all signals that their release in the US and UK markets is imminent. 

Hopefully, we can get a few in before long so we can finally give Intel Arc GPUs a thorough once-over.


Analysis: Intel Arc has been a long time coming

We've been looking forward to Intel's take on discrete graphics for years now, ever since we first saw some early demonstrations at CES 2020. Now that these GPUs are slowly starting to trickle out into the world, we're really hoping that Intel can do something to disrupt the Nvidia-AMD duopoly that exists in the graphics processing space.

It'll be several more weeks, if not months, before we'll be getting our hands on Intel's discrete desktop graphics cards, so we still have a ways to go before we can really get a look at Intel's best for this generation of GPUs. Still, the fact that there will be some new graphics cards in this generation is exciting, and not just because it should help ease the persistent graphics card shortages.

What we're most interested in seeing is some new innovation and competition from Intel to help goad Nvidia and AMD to work harder at delivering a better product, especially since it's looking like graphics cards and processors aren't going to be as readily available as they've been in the past. If we must wait a while to get our hands on a graphics card, we'd like it to be worth the wait.  

Read more...
20 Apr 2022

Intel Sapphire Rapids leak offers sneak peek at specs and performance

New details have emerged regarding Intel’s upcoming Sapphire Rapids-SP 56 core processor which is intended for use in data centers.

According to a new report from Tom’s Hardware, hardware leaker YuuKi_AnS has once again provided more information on the chip giant’s Sapphire Rapids processors after benchmarking them back in February of this year.

Just like its Alder Lake processors, Sapphire Rapids will leverage Intel’s Golden Cove cores and Intel 7 node which was previously known as 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process.

Based on the screenshots YuuKi-Ans shared on Twitter, the leaked Sapphire Rapids-SP processor has 56 cores and 112 threads. While we don’t yet know how it will perform in real-world testing, the new chip is outshined by AMD’s EPYC 7003 (Milan) chips that have up to 64 cores and 128 threads.

Sapphire Rapids-SP processors

In addition to its 56 cores and 112 threads, Intel’s Sapphire Rapids-SP chip has 112MB of L2 cache and 105MB of L3 cache. Once again though, the top of the line EPYC 7003 beats it with up to 256MB of L3 cache.

Still though, Intel is preparing a Sapphire Rapids chip with up to 64GB of HBM23 memory while AMD’s Milan-X chips will feature 512MB of 3D V-Cache.

It’s also worth noting that the Sapphire Rapids-SP processor leaked by YuuKi-AnS is an engineering sample so things could change when the chip goes into production. Regardless, the leaked processor has a base clock of 1.9 GHz and can boost all the way up to 3.3 GHz. Meanwhile, the single-core boost clock can reach speeds of up to 3.7 GHz.

Powering Intel’s Sapphire Rapids-SP processor will require a significant amount of energy as it has a 350W PL1 rating according to YuuKi-AnS’s screenshots and a 420W PL2 rating. However, the actual enforced power limit from inside the BIOS goes all the way up to 764W and the chip itself can reach a max temperature of 99 degrees Celsius.

Although Sapphire Rapids was supposed to be released during Q2 of 2022, delays have pushed its release to the third quarter of this year. These delays also mean that Intel’s new data center chip may have to go up against AMD’s EPYC 7004 (Genoa) which could arrive around the same time.

Via Tom's Hardware

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20 Apr 2022

The FBI maintains a massive encyclopedia of internet slang

In the same way that parents have a hard time keeping up with the latest internet slang, so too does the FBI which is why the government agency put together its own guide on the latest terms and abbreviations.

As reported by Input, the FBI actually has its own 83-page guide on internet slang that you can read for yourself on the Internet Archive.

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It’s worth noting that the FBI’s massive encyclopedia of internet slang is a bit dated by today’s standards as it was obtained back in 2014 through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the non-profit MuckRock whose aim is to make politics more transparent while holding the government accountable.

Abbreviations galore

The FBI’s internet slang guide was uploaded to the Internet Archive for posterity and contains 2,800 entries with the vast majority of them being abbreviations for Twitter shorthand. However, the guide also contains entries on common symbols found online such as using “

Alongside familiar terms like “LOL” and “BRB”, the FBI’s internet slang guide also has some more unusual entries such as ALOTBSOL (always look on the bright side of life), BIOYIOP (blow it out your I/O port), DENT (don’t bother next time), GIWIS (gee, I wish I’d said that) and more. 

As we mentioned before, you can read the guide yourself on the Internet Archive but be warned, it is very low quality and you’ll need to zoom in quite a bit to read it.

According to a report from The Verge released back in 2014 when the FBI’s internet slang guide first became publicly available, the glossary of terms was put together by the government agency’s Intelligence Research Support Unit and was described as useful for “keeping up” with children and grandchildren.

Although we now know what the FBI was looking for online almost a decade ago, it would be quite interesting to take a look at the agency’s more recent internet slang guides which have likely ballooned in size now that more and more of our daily lives are spent online.

Via Input

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20 Apr 2022

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 might already be in testing

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, and this new batch allegedly reveals that Nvidia has begun testing its next-gen AD102 GPU, which is expected to power the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.

The flagship AD102 GPU, which is built on Nvidia’s Lovelace architecture, will be used to power cards such as the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080. According to reliable Twitter leaker Kopite7kimi, the cards will feature a 24 Gbps GDDR6X memory die, and will stick to the GeForce RTX 40-series naming convention instead of being rebranded as the 50-series, as some reports have suggested.

Of course, none of this has been confirmed by Nvidia, so make sure to take it all with a grain of salt.

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Analysis: How much is too much power?

Recently, a photo of the alleged PCB (Printed Circuit Board) the AD102 GPU is rumored to use surfaced, and If these are to be trusted, it could have a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 600W or even as high as 800 or 850W. To compare, the already power-hungry RTX 3090 boasts a maximum TDP of 350W.

This could be a serious long-term issue for buyers. Not only is the upfront cost of the graphics card steep, but the energy costs to continuously run it could end up being hefty. 

Then there’s the cooling system needed to maintain it, which wouldn’t run cheap considering how hot these cards could get, and many buyers would have to replace their PSU (Power Supply Unit) — another expensive investment.

And if the return investment in terms of gaming power isn’t substantial enough to justify all these possible costs, many potential buyers might be hesitant to even make the next-gen jump.

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19 Apr 2022

Apple’s MacBook Air 2022 might have been revealed in a leaked render

There have been plenty of rumors afoot concerning an upcoming MacBook Air 2022, and even more surfaced today — including a render of the laptop that may reveal its new design.

It seems that the MacBook Air 2022 will completely overhaul the classic MacBook Air look, using a wedge-shape instead of the tapered look of past Air laptops. The leaks also hint at a release in the second half of 2022.

It is also suggested that the weight will be a mere 2.9 pounds, as well as feature a 13.6-inch mini-LED retina display, a redesigned keyboard similar to the MacBook Pro, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt ports, tons of colors to choose from, up to 2TB with maxed-out memory of 16GB, and 20 hours of battery life. No HDMI or SD card slots have been revealed as of now.

The Apple M2 chip will also be included in the laptop, which could have eight cores in the chip. Though it’s not as powerful as the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, it’ll be built for GPU and CPU efficiency instead.

However, none of these rumors have been officially confirmed by Apple so take it all with a large pinch of salt.

Analysis: What we know so far

Despite not being officially announced yet, there’s plenty of leaks and rumors that paint a clearer picture of the MacBook Air 2022. And giving more credence to said leaks is information from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman himself.

The laptop missed out on a reveal during the Apple "Peek Performance" event on March 8, there’s still a chance it could make an appearance at the WWDC event happening early in June 2022, though an unlikely one. According to Gurman, Apple originally planned on launching the new Air model at the end of last year or early in 2022, but hadn’t been able to stick by that timeframe.

And though the rumor mill is confident in a MacBook Air 2022 this year, that same mill seems to believe that Apple will be skipping out on MacBook Pro 14-inch or 16-inch models this year. Although it’s possible we’ll see a refreshed 13-inch model this year instead.

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19 Apr 2022

If you want to upgrade your Dell laptop memory, you may be out of luck

Upgrading the RAM in your Dell laptop may soon be out of the question as the PC maker has developed its own proprietary form factor for DDR5 memory.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware and first spotted by iGPU Extremist on Twitter, the Austin-based company’s upcoming Precision 7670 mobile workstation features its new Compression Attached Memory Module (CAMM) that houses the device’s memory.

While the full details on the Precision 7670 are set to be released later this month, iGPU Extremist shared photographs of the laptop which show what appears to be a single-sided module with 16 integrated circuits (ICs). Dell’s CAMM features two zones with eight ICs on each side and the design will probably run in a dual-channel configuration.

While we haven’t yet heard from the company regarding CAMM, its new memory module will likely offer a more compact alternative to replace two SO-DIMM memory slots.

Thinner laptops at the cost of user upgradability

Unlike business laptops which tend to be both thin and light, mobile workstations are known for being a bit heftier due to their more powerful components and larger batteries.

Through CAMM though, Dell will likely be able to simplify the designs of its laptops and make them thinner and even potentially lighter as more memory can be crammed into a smaller space.

While CAMM certainly sounds like a better implementation than soldering memory to a device’s motherboard, it would prevent users from upgrading the RAM on their devices using off-the-shelf components. Instead, they would need to purchase memory upgrades directly from Dell which would come at a premium.

Still though, Dell could decide to open up CAMM to third-party memory vendors to make future upgrades more readily available and cheaper for its customers.

We’ll have to wait until the end of the month to learn more about the Dell Precision 7670 mobile workstation and the company’s plans for CAMM going forward.

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19 Apr 2022

LinkedIn is now the most imitated brand by cybercriminals

The job site and professional social network LinkedIn accounted for more than half of all brand phishing attacks during the first quarter of this year.

According to Check Point Research (CPR), this is the first time that LinkedIn has taken the top spot in its 2022 Q1 Brand Phishing Report. The professional social network was impersonated in 52 percent of all phishing attacks globally during Q1 which marks a dramatic, 44 percent increase from the previous quarter.

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At the same time, CPR’s new report shows that cybercriminals now prefer to leverage social networks over shipping companies and tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Apple.

As for the rest of the companies whose brands are frequently used in phishing attempts, global shipping company DHL took the second spot at 14 percent, followed by Google (7%), Microsoft (7%) and FedEx (6%). Besides these companies, Amazon, Maersk, AliExpress, Apple and WhatsApp rounded out CPR’s top 10 list with Meta-owned WhatsApp accounting for almost 1 in 20 phishing-related attacks worldwide.

Brand phishing attacks

For those unfamiliar, in a brand phishing attack, cybercriminals attempt to imitate the official website of a well-known company by using a similar domain name and webpage design. 

From here, links to fake websites are sent to targeted individuals by email or text message. These fake websites also often contain a form intended to steal user credentials, payment details or other personal information.

Data research group manager at Check Point Software, Omer Dembinsky explained in a blog post how the cybercriminals behind brand phishing attacks will also try to deploy malware on company networks in addition to stealing sensitive personal and business information, saying:

“These phishing attempts are attacks of opportunity, plain and simple. Criminal groups orchestrate these phishing attempts on a grand scale, with a view to getting as many people to part with their personal data as possible. Some attacks will attempt to gain leverage over individuals or steal their information, such as those we’re seeing with LinkedIn. Others will be attempts to deploy malware on company networks, such as the fake emails containing spoof carrier documents that we’re seeing with the likes of Maersk. If there was ever any doubt that social media would become one of the most heavily targeted sectors by criminal groups, Q1 has laid those doubts to rest.” 

In order to avoid falling victim to brand phishing attacks, CPR recommends that users remain cautious when divulging personal data and credentials to business applications or websites, think twice before opening email attachments or links, look for misspellings in emails and the domains used by websites and beware of urgent requests such as "change your password now".

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