Monthly Archives : July 2016

Intel Core i7-6900K against the lineup


Intel Core i7-6900K Eight cores and 16 available threads via Intel’s familiar Hyper-Threading technology. Hyper-Threading allows each actual core to work on two threads at the same time. The Core i7-6900 has a 3.2 GHz base clock speed that is 200MHz faster than the at of the previous-generation top of the line, eight-core Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, as well the current-gen 10-core Core i7-6950X. All of the new Broadwell-E chips in the lineup will be backward-compatible with most X99-based Socket LGA 2011-v3 motherboards, provided that the motherboard maker offers up a BIOS update to support Intel’s latest chips.

Computer Shopper helped us all out by performing a Cinebench R15, an industry standard benchmark test that taxes all available cores of a processor to measure raw CPU muscle, the Core i7-6900K stuck reasonably close to its 10-core counterpart. Falling just 6 percent behind the Core i7-6950X, the eight-core Core i7-6900K impresses here, given the $600 price difference between those two chips.

This how the lineup performed in Benchmark testing done by Computer Shopper Reviewer, Matt Safford. 

Core 2 Core 3 Core 4 Core 5 Core 6


For those who are running time-consuming and fully threaded workloads each day the Core i7-6900K is a better value that the 10-core counterpart that costs significantly more money. It won’t be able to give you the highest performance possible, but as concluded from testing, it gets you pretty darn close. The Core i7-6900K is great for gamers and media connoisseurs as you won’t need to upgrade for several years and is still above quality in comparison to the Intel’s Broadwell-E-Stack. If you plan to connect various graphics cards and fast PCle storage will most likely want to go with a different model, perhaps the six core Core i7-6850K  because it has 40 PCle 3.0 lanes included, the highest base clock speed of it’s lineup (3.6Hz) and costs about half as much as the i7-6900K. If you looking for the best bang for your buck opt for the Core i7-6800K. Six cores, higher base clock speed than the i7-6900K at 3.4GHz and only costs $430. This chip makes do with 28 lanes of PCle, while 8 lanes is generally enough to handle the current graphics-card bandwidth. Even dropping two cards in leaves you with 12 lanes left for fast storage.






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3,500 Chimera decryption keys posted on pastebin


Cybersecurity firm Sophos reported the authors of Mischa ransomware program gained access to the development platform of a rival program called Chimera this week, and posted thousands of Chimera decryption keys online. The reasons for why Mischa gathered such codes are unclear, except for maybe the fact that Chimera and Mischa are big time rivals. Regardless the forecast looks promising for antivirus companies and users alike. About 3500 decryption keys went live on Pastebin.

Chimera not only encrypts user data, but also threatens to publish the data in plain text if payment is not met in full and in a timely fashion. So far, there is no evidence that Chimera enforcers have followed through with this threat. The threat alone seems enough to motivate victims to pay whatever ransom Chimera chooses. Clever tactic to put victims between a rock and a hard place and guarantee payment.

“it should not be difficult for antivirus companies to build a decrypter” – MischaChimera

Mischa says they received access to Chimera’s development system earlier this year even though Mischa developers explain they are not involved with Chimera.

Sophos cautions users that things of this nature take time, stating,  “it will take some time to determine if the leaked RSA keys will actually work to decrypt files locked up by Chimera and for someone to write a decryptor program, but for now, there’s at least hope that victims can get their data back.”

For any of those following the rise of malware and ransomware tactics, this is a huge break. If you are a victim of Chimera, keeping your encrypted files just a bit longer could mean getting your data back if the encryption keys turn out to be legit.








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Superior VDI Experience – Flash Array & Citrix XenDesktop


Delivering a superior VDI experience with Flash Array and Citrix XenDesktop

VDI – Virtual Desktop infrastructure is the practice of hosting a desktop operating system within a virtual machine (VM) running on a centralized server. VDI is a variation on the client/server computing model, sometimes referred to as server-based computing. VDI has become more popular, now available to most workers, anyplace, anytime, via multiple devices.

Virtualizing and centralizing desktops offers a more secure, more manageable and less costly end-user computing model. Scalable server architecture has helped with this, although virtualizing and centralizing are more popular now they are still not widespread.

The reason being high cost and management complexities. VDI deployment should reduce equipment costs and management costs although the initial shared server and networking resources can have an expensive price tag. VDI that relies on spinning disk storage systems tend to deliver unreliable performance and slow response times. VDI projects are usually deployed with the goal of maximizing end-user productivity, which is great, but usually this means increased IT management.

When considering a VDI storage solution it is important to value high performance with consistent low latency as well as non-disruptive operations. Low latency storage compatibilities are required to enable the full potential of VDI designs. Otherwise the systems will get bogged down and users will experience inconsistent performance and disconnections when multiple devices log in at the same time. The system must be available at all times even during maintenance, upgrades, natural disasters etc. Storage systems that cannot perform consistently will not be able to support VDI installation.

Pure Storage Flash Array and Citrix XenDesktop in perfect harmony

The Pure Storage Flash Array delivers low latency performance with the average latency being less than 1 millisecond. Flash Array’s typical data reduction rate of 10:1 or greater cuts costs than with traditional disks and hybrid storage. The average up time for Flash Array storage systems is greater than 99.999 percent – extremely reliable. Flash Array also employs a set and forget system that simplifies VDI management. In addition this storage solution has non-disruptive operations that give that same reliable performance even during upgrades and maintenance.

Citrix XenDesktop delivers full Windows VDI capabilities in addition to virtual apps, meeting the demands of any user. XenDesktop enables users to access their apps, desktops and data without the limitations of a traditional solution. On the unified FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA) platform, XenDesktop is the only solution that is FIPS-compliant and Common Criteria certified to meet the highest security standards of regulated industries. End users will enjoy the simple virtual desktop interface, while IT will appreciate the superior performance of HDX technology, even when deployed over challenging, high-latency networks.




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Ubiquiti’s Amplifi – What a mesh!



The Amplifi system is best for those large homes struggling to get strong Wi-Fi connection throughout. Not only is the Amplifi a competent router with a firewall integrated, but it can also be used as a pure Wi-Fi access point and mesh network.

The web interface is basic, with all management needs being completed via the iOS or Android application. The Amplifi kit supports sshaccess out of the box via LAN or WLAN, not the WAN side. Amplifi does not support several features for power users, such as WPA2 Enterprise for 802.1X.

The base station comes with two mesh points, an AC adapter with a Micro-USB plug, a 1.5-meter Cat5 Ethernet patch cable, and a small instruction booklet. The setup includes involves first downloading the Amplifi application (this is where you will find the step-by-step setup instructions) and applying power to the base station by plugging it into my cable modem.

The device itself looks pretty cool, the design is modern with an LED light glowing from the bottom of the device. The mesh points and their articulated antenna heads are meant to plug directly into electrical outlets around your home. Each can be manipulated around to aid with reception. The antenna is not permanently affixed to the bottom of the plug component, and for good reason. The antenna is held in place by a very strong magnetic ball-and-socket. This way if the antenna is bumped or nudged it simply falls off without breaking the entire component and can be reattached without hesitation, great for kids, pets, and the clumsy alike.

The Amplifi data sheet advertises a max speed of “5.25Gbps” for the Amplifi HD. In a real world test performed by Lee Hutchinson, Senior Technology Editor for Ars, the 802.11ac test system was able to negotiate a transfer rate of 867Mbps in a relatively calm RF environment at a distance of about two meters from the base station. Though the Amplifi units don’t yet support 802.11k or 802.11r managed roaming, his phone and laptop had no issues jumping between the mesh points as he wandered around the house with file transfers in progress. The observed transfer rates varied between 100-500Mbps, though there was no bench-marking in place and the tests weren’t controlled.

Amplifi systems are offered with three models ranging in price from $199 to $349. Aggressive pricing considering the Eero is priced at $499 for a three-device starter pack, and the Apple Airport Extreme is priced at $199 and $99 for a mesh extension. Depending on your needs, the standard option would be more than enough for the average user.






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Secure your Dropbox in a few easy steps


Many of us use Dropbox for it’s ease of use and accessibility, which is all the more reason to make it extra safe. One-factor authentication is no longer enough to protect against hacking due to incredibly weak passwords, (we are all guilty of this one). Two-step verification requires you to enter both your password and a security code sent to your mobile phone. This is by far one of the easiest ways to beef up your Dropbox security. To enable two-step verification, simply log into your Dropbox account and click your username in the upper-right corner of your Dropbox window. From here you should be able to find Settings from the menu. Click the Security tab, then click Enable under two-step verification.

Another way to ensure security is to unlink old devices. Dropbox has the wonderful ability to span across multiple devices, which can also create a security vulnerability if not cleaned up every so often. You’d be surprised how many old devices end up linked to your account after a few years. Find the Security tab as you did when accessing two-step verification, and scroll down the menu to “Devices“. This will show you a list of all the devices that have access to your Dropbox, complete with the date of their most recent Dropbox activity. Go through the list and unlink the devices you no longer use or need by clicking the X to the right of the device name.

Managing application access aids in narrowing the amount of third-party applications that require full access to your account. An app will retain the full access you originally gave it even if you barely use the app anymore. This is also true for applications that the developer has stopped supporting. This creates a very easy window of opportunity for hackers, with a very easy solution. Prevent future security flaws by revoking access of applications you no longer use. Return to the Security tab, and find Apps Linked in the drop-down menu. A list will appear with all of the applications you have authorized to access your Dropbox account. Same as with devices, click the X to the right of the application to remove the app from having access to your account.

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Ransomware – Never too late to negotiate


Researchers claim that ransomware campaigns are usually willing to negotiate these days.

“Cybersecurity firm F-Secure released a new report, “Evaluating the Customer Journey of Crypto-Ransomware and the Paradox Behind It,” which claims that three out of four ransomware criminal gangs were willing to negotiate the ransom fee.” – Charlie Osborne, writer for ZDNet.

By creating a fake account, researchers were able to negotiate with hackers and even receive up to 30 percent “discounted” from their ransom. This changes what we already know about ransomware. Many times when ransomware takes hold, a deadline for payment is put into place, creating a sense of urgency and stress for the victim. Hackers want you to pay as quickly as possible, and often place a lingering threat of further file deletion if payment is not met in a timely fashion. F-secure states that this is not exactly true, and that ransomware deadlines are more flexible than the average victim is aware of. As proven to be true with the fake account, each cyber attacker contacted by fake victims offered deadline extensions for payment. Remember this is for payment, not for letting victims off without file deletion.

F-Secure believes hackers are interested in establishing trust between victim and hacker to ensure they receive payment in some form. Hackers don’t necessarily care about the files lost, but are willing to work with you, purely for payment purposes. Begging and pleading still won’t get you much more than that.

As always, taking steps to stay secure is the best practice to avoiding ransomware. Negotiating is now on the table, but the reward is small in comparison to avoiding the malware altogether.



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Webcam Malware aimed at company employees


Attacks face many working employees as the newest form of malware has been aimed at webcams in the workplace. The new malware is used to record employee’s private moment sin order to extort information out of them later. Sounds like everyone’s worst nightmare. The malware is called Delilah, a sweet sounding name for something so morally compromising. Delilah is the world’s first insider threat Trojan. It allows operators to capture sensitive and compromising footage of victims, which is then used to pressure victims into leaking important company secrets. The malware is being delivered via multiple popular adult and gaming sites. Thus far it is not clear if any engineering or software vulnerabilities are the source of the installed malware. The bot comes with a social engineering plug in that connects to the webcam operations so you never know you are being filmed. The attackers are using encrypted channels to communicate with victims. The bot itself needs a high level of management from a human to know who to recruit, choosing who to scam effectively. The bot, once installed, seeks to gather as much personal information about the candidate as possible, in order to bully the victim into complying with attacker requests. This can span to family and friend information as well. At the moment, not much has been accomplished as to checking for the malware. All that is known is that the bot is still buggy, and that because of the number of screenshots it is taking, often makes the screen freeze momentarily.

As security researchers look into this type of malware, more preventative information should follow.



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There IS a way to activate Siri with your voice, here’s how

So if virtual activation isn’t available on the macOS Sierra Public Beta through the Siri system preferences, then how do I get Siri to activate when I say “Hey Siri”? Through the Sierra Accessibility system preference that’s how.

The default Siri keyboard command in the Sierra Public Beta is to hold down the Command and Space buttons. You have to change, purely because the Accessibility feature doesn’t have a way to hold down a keyboard combination. Duh.

Okay first how to change the Siri keyboard shortcut

  1. Open the Siri system preferences  Apple menu > System Preferences  
  2. Find keyboard shortcut. A few options here for you, choose customize in order to create your own shortcut for the keyboard to acknowledge. siri-keyboard-shortcuts-100672179-large

Creating a Dictation command to activate Siri 

Now that you’ve tweaked the keyboard shortcut, you are ready to make “Hey Siri” work.

  1. System Preferences Apple menu > System Preferences 
  2. Click on Keyboard icon
  3. Click on the Dictation tab. If nothing happens, click on another tab and then click Dictation again (essentially just try it again)
  4. Look for a setting called Dictation. Turn it on. Select Use Enhanced Dictation. 
  5. If you have multiple microphones, you can select the one you prefer to use by clicking the pop-up menu under the microphone icon. sierra-beta-heysiri-keyboard-dictation-100672183-large
  6. Now click the Show All icon at the top of the window, then click on the Accessibility icon. Or, select View in the menu bar and select Accessibility.  sierra-beta-heysiri-accessibility-system-preference-100672184-large
  7.  In the left column of the Accessibility system preference, scroll down to find Dictation and select.
  8. Check the box “Enable the dictation keyword phrase” and type in “Hey”                                                                     A Blog
  9. Click the Dictation Commands Button.
  10. An overlay window appears with a selection list in the left column. Below is a box for “Enable advanced commands” Check this box.
  11. Click the + button. This will allow you to create a custom command.
  12.  Blogg
  13. Click Done.


Thank you mac world for the steps! Check out for the full article.

Clean up that PC! 3 tools to help you out

At some point in your PCs life it is going to get so jam packed with STUFF that you have no choice but to clean house. This is a good thing, because it means your PC is used enough to get a healthy dose of clutter and that some user loves it enough to clean it up. There are a number of tricks you can use to free up storage on your PC and reap the benefits of a faster system. A particularly good place to start is by eradicating duplicate files and folders on your hard drive. Most are surprised to find out how much superfluous data is sitting on their machines. For the average user, these are the top three tools we recommend to help you tackle the junk.

download-Double-killerDoubleKiller – This all-purpose duplicate finder can not only scan folders but your entire hard drive, and even other PCs on your local network. By comparing file names, size, modification date, and even content, the program lets you know what things to get rid of, with your permission of course. You can also exclude files, if you are worried about accidentally being too clean. reports have been made that the infrastructure of the software can be a little tricky. If you get lost, start by adding some folders to scan under the Options tab, then go back to the DoubleKiller tab and click Run. When it has scanned your PC you can decided if you want to delete the files or move them to a new location.

dupeGuru Picture Edition – This tool is all about finding those pesky duplicates in your image folders. Pictures (especially if you are like me and have near 11,000 photos), are one of the top sources for duplicates. As people migrate to new PCs, restore data from back-ups, and extend pictures to the cloud, opportunity for random doubles arise. And I myself do not want to try to find each and every one of them. DupeGuru PE is very easy to use. A simple window appears with options to add folders for scanning. When you’ve decided the folders you would like scanned, just hit Scan and let the master take it away! Literally!

Winmerge – If you have lots of documents or text files this is the tool for you. Winmerge lets you compare two versions of a document, or an entire directory, and then view the actual differences between them on screen. You can choose to merge the text into one preferred document. Winmerge works differently then the other two tools on this list, as it does not search your entire hard drive for you. You have to know that you have two files or directories you’re comparing are similar or earlier versions of each other. This is effective in that you can see the differences and bring the files together into one version. The icons are designed to give the user visual cues to prompt you into understanding how everything works together.

Cheers to more storage!


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Low Profile iPad Pro Mechanical Keyboard Case

At $169 a pop this mechanical keyboard case for the iPad Pro resembles a briefcase with a handle. The keyboard employs a new switch called the “Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical Switch” with true actuation, reset, and 70 grams of forced needed per key. The keyboard/case combo comes with a metal kickstand, a detachable poly-carbonate case, and connectivity via Bluetooth. In addition with the maximum brightness glowing the device still has 10 hours of battery life or 600 hours with the back-lighting off. This tech exists for those looking for a laptop like typing experience rather than the touchscreen option. However, if you change your mind Razer gave this keyboard a full range of motion so you can keep the case on and use your iPad as usual. It’s pretty cool if you use your iPad for many different functions.

mechanical keyboardmechanical keyboardmechanical keyboard


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