Author: Brett Bogler

Microsoft’s HoloLens Platform is Open to Partners

maxresdefault (1)

 

Microsoft took a leap this week, deciding to open it’s Windows Holographic platform to hardware developers creating virtual and augmented reality devices. Windows 10 partners can create their own mixed-reality worlds for users to both communicate and work, thanks to the same software that powers Microsoft HoloLens. Microsoft has invited it’s hardware partners to build PCs, displays and accessories with the Windows Holographic platform.

Microsoft wants users and partners alike to visualize using a VR device and being able to see their hands as they manipulate an object, or even bringing in a holographic representation of a person, object, or concept into a users personal virtual reality in order to collaborate on big projects. Microsoft is looking a the bigger picture by encouraging partners to take a jump  with their HoloLens platform. Already working with partners such as Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, HTC, Dell, Lenovo, and more, that jump doesn’t look so unimaginable. The Windows Holographic includes a holographic shell ans interaction model, perception APIs and Xbox Live services. The HoloLens 3D augmented reality headset is untethered and rather than taking a users entire field of vision like VR gadgets, the HoloLens adds 3D objects to the real world vision of the user. The newest version of the reality headset is already in the works, which will encompass even more capabilities such as multi-tasking, new voice commands, photo applications, Bluetooth for devices, and support for the Edge Web browser.

Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these even if just for a little test, and if Microsoft is successful in their efforts that shouldn’t be too hard to do.

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Microsoft Opens HoloLens Platform to Partners

Threats That Are Spoofing Mobile Enterprise Apps

Nicht jede App ist vertrauenswürdig. Manche installieren Schadsoftware, andere klauen Dokumente oder Passwörter. Von diesen sollte man besser die Finger lassen.

Malware has taken to mobile applications, namely those in the enterprise. Enterprise employees use mobile applications to share data, send packages, manage email, and otherwise juggle the needs of a functioning business. Spoofing applications such as Cisco’s Business Class Email app, ADP, Dropbox, FedEx Mobile, Zendesk, VMware’s Horizon Client, and Blackboard’s Mobile Learn app, makes for very dangerous territory. These spoofed applications are nearly identically to the real counterpart, without serious knowledge of information technology you would never know that the FedEx app you are using is really malicious malware. By impersonating these types of enterprise applications, using the brand and packaging name, unsuspecting users become the host of dangerous malware.

Shuanet is a family of malware that automatically roots a device and installs itself on the system. After Shuanet installs itself on the system it proceeds to install more applications without the permission of the user. These applications are pushed to the phone with the intention to continue installing even more applications and more opportunities to fill the unsuspecting device with malware. With each installation of more applications comes aggressive marketing tactics to try to get a user to bite. Rooted devices are essentially in an altered state, when a device is rooted it is usually for the gain of customization, however in order to remain secure one must know how to configure the security, if they do not configure the device properly the device will no longer receive important software updates. Factory resetting a device infected with malware that installs itself on the system partition, such as Shuanet, will not wipe the malware completely from the device. Apps like these continue to download applications that also house malware, which only adds fuel to the fire.

Examples of apps it spoofs: ADP Mobile Solutions, CamCard Free, Cisco Business Class Email (BCE), Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, VMWare Horizon Client, Zendesk, Okta Verify.

AndroRAT is another family of malware spoofing enterprise applications. Originally AndroRAT was developed by university students for a class project. It was used as a remote administration tool, as it allows a third party to control the device. Well controlling the device also means allowing the software to collect information from the device such as contacts, call logs, text messages, audio from the microphone, and even device location. Not exactly a comforting piece of information. Hidden remote access software allows attackers the ability to control the device and extract data with nearly nothing standing in their way. Most compromising to the enterprise is the continued remote access to a mobile device. This mobile device is carried throughout the day and it is only a matter of time before the device connects to a business network, allowing an attacker to infiltrate Wi-Fi networks and VPNs.

Examples of apps it spoofs: Dropbox, Skype, Business Calendar

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit:5 active mobile threats spoofing enterprise apps

Bank Accounts Targeted by Silent Malware

hybrid-banking-trojan-goznym-steals-4m-showcase_image-2-a-9049

 

Another level of sophisticated malware has hit the online banking platform in the form of a virus called “GozNym”. GozNym has already helped hackers steal over $4 million from banks in the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to IBM Security’s executive adviser Etay Maor, who also led forces in discovering the malicious software.

GozNym is a high alert and extremely dangerous malware due to a few contributing factors. One of which being the combination malware. Initial malware infects the machine, installing itself and a second form of malware onto the device. This second form waits in the background until the user decides to visit the web interface of a financial institution, storing the user’s username and password. The encryption level of the malware in this case has been doubled, making it even more difficult to analyze and research. The process is time consuming and often presents little answers as to how to alleviate the machine from the infection.

In addition, GozNym has been shown to be especially more difficult for anti-virus software to detect. Most well informed people aware of the sensitivity of their data, or simply value the life and protection of their computer, already have a noteworthy anti-virus software installed on their machine. Heeding to the advice of information technology professionals. However, if the anti-virus cannot detect the malware then your machine is basically waving it’s hands in the air, asking for trouble. An infection could arise without the user ever being aware of the installation, and all it takes is one visit to their bank’s web portal and the rest is history.

“There might be a million malware strains, but there are only a few families that are active and dangerous and those principal malware families are owned by organized crime, so this could cause very heavy losses in online banking fraud.”

 Don’t use the same password for everything. If hackers can silently get the password to one of your bank accounts without you knowing it, don’t give them more to work with by making that same password the golden key to all of your logins. Password managers are becoming increasingly popular due to the need for multiple passwords for everything. Although this method cannot be called bulletproof, it is a significantly better way to stay safe. The GozNym malware is sophisticated enough to show full bank account balances even after criminals have drained accounts. Try to stay conscious of how you are accessing your banking information. Paper statements for the time being, might be the best practice until a solution is found.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Dangerous New Malware Targets Online Bank Accounts

Windows Phone Can’t Keep Up in The Global Smartphone Market

 

The global smartphone market is by no means in bad shape, during the first quarter of the year sales increased 3.9 percent alone. However, to the non surprise of many, Microsoft was not apart of that increase, in fact, they fell below 1 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The Windows Phone platform was already facing hard times last year, struggling with a modest 2.5 percent share of the smartphone OS market. You may be surprised to hear Apple had a rough quarter as well, with iPhone sales down 14 percent, even still they came in second within the top five leaders in the smartphone market. Samsung had 23.2 percent market share, Apple had 14.8 percent, Huawei reported 8.3 percent, Oppo 4.6 percent and finally Xiaomi with 4.3 percent. Lenovo no longer made it into the top five contributors. Three of these brands are Chinese, grabbing a combined 17 percent of the market.

Last week Microsoft announced plans to sell it’s phone business to a newly formed Finnish firm, HMD, for $350 million. Why buy such a business when it is already tanking? The Finnish firm plans to create Nokia-branded smartphones and tablets for decades to come, which considering the way the market is turning, appears to be the right move. Overall global smartphone sales totaled 349 million units in the first quarter. The 13 million increase comes from the demand for lower cost smartphones. Emerging brands are stirring the pot, leading larger vendors to experience growth saturation in the global smartphone market. Chinese brands are proving themselves to be the new force in the market.

20121029-wp8-hero

 

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Windows Phone Is Basically Dead, Gartner Says

Robots take 60,000 jobs – and we’re happy about it

dfox

 

Main Apple supplier and the largest electronics manufacturer in the world, Foxconn, has automated 60,000 jobs, the goal of their long pursued automation integration. Now, that being said, we must take into account the abilities and resources of the organization. The company itself has taken a great leap into the robotics market, even predicting HUGE increases in robotic manufacturing on their product line. Foxconn also has a significant stake in SoftBank Robotics Holdings. If you don’t already know SoftBank makes the emotionally intelligent robot, Pepper.

Foxconn CEO relays that the company will be applying robotics engineering to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees. The company wishes to move their employees into more research and development roles and other higher end value positions that have to do with the manufacturing process. The company still has jobs for their over 1.2 million employees even with the automation of 60,000 positions. I find it hard to believe that Foxconn will do anything other than continue to innovate and invest in the robotics market for both their own company and the innovation of other markets. Foxconn CEO states that they expect to keep a significant workforce in China, even with automation.

To be honest, nothing about this is surprising to me. Foxconn is a huge company as both a manufacturing powerhouse and a significant contributor to the robotic market. It is only in their best interest that they employ some of the technology they help put together. Not only will this increased innovation make for a more efficient production line, but will most certainly set the standard for other companies to come.

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Apple supplier Foxconn automates 60,000 jobs, but says quality, productivity will improve

Windows Anniversary Update – Increased RAM Requirement

According to Microsoft, the Windows Anniversary Update will double the amount of RAM needed in order to run, which could be problematic for anyone using an older machine or running on a very small hard drive. Windows 10, 8, and 7, required only 1GB of RAM. The 32-bit Windows Anniversary update will increase this requirement to 2GB of RAM. The RAM required for the 64-bit systems will not increase but rather stay at the already required 2GB of RAM. All other requirements remain unchanged. You still need 1GHz processor, 16GB of free storage for the 32-bit version and 20GB free storage for the 64-bit version, as well as DirectX 9 support. For those that have cut corners on RAM, or have a “vintage” machine, you will most likely encounter problems trying to meet the new requirements. If you have recently invested in increased RAM or purchased a new machine in the past few years, Windows Anniversary update should give you no trouble. RAM is a fairly inexpensive upgrade and should prolong the life and quality of your machine.  As a reminder, the Windows Anniversary Update launches on July 29th of this year, with an improved Cortana and Hello login feature.

o92a2806 (1)

 


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Windows 10 Anniversary Update will require more RAM

Wi-Fi Capabilities Dramatically Increase with Beamforming

New things are coming in the world of Wi-Fi technology, in the form of beamforming and MU-MIMO. Beamforming makes it possible for routers to adjust their phase and power for better signal by allowing Wi-Fi routers and clients to exchange information about their locations. Beamforming, in either the explicit or implicit form, provides significantly better radio signals, faster forwarding, at greater distances. Devices manufactured in the last two years will support explicit beamforming, that allows client and Wi-Fi to communicate about their locations, and providing better steering of signals between the two. Implicit beamforming works in a similar way, steering signals based on the routers internal measurements rather than the respective locations of the router and the client. Prior to beamforming, Wi-Fi routers sent signals out in all directions. The signals need only go where Wi-Fi devices are, beamforming makes Wi-Fi capabilities more efficient by solving this problem and employing signals in the direction of devices. MU-MIMO, short for multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output, makes more bandwidth available to wireless users. Moving networking away from the one-at-a-time model to a more complex system, multiple devices can converse simultaneously.

David Newman with Network World, reviewed the MU-MIMO and beamforming capabilities within the Linksys EA-7500 and his results were noteworthy. After a quick power-up, online configuration, and downloaded firmware update, the router was up and running. Comparing transfer rates between the old 802.11n access point and the new Linksys EA-7500 router, Newman found a significant increase in results. The old 802.11n downloaded data at 25Mbps while the new Linskys EA-7500 downloaded data much faster at 58Mbps.

His conclusion is as follows:

So, can beamforming and MU-MIMO help you? The answer is “yes, for sure” if you’re in one of three categories:

  • if you’ve got devices 2 years old or newer, beamforming can help
  • if you’ve got distance issues, beamforming and MU-MIMO can help
  • if you’ve got multiple devices, MU-MIMO can help

In all these cases, we saw significant improvements using MU-MIMO and beamforming technology in the Linksys EA7500 Wi-Fi router.

linksys-ea7500-full-800x533-clinksys-ea7500-jacks-800x533-c


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Review: Wave 2 Wi-Fi delivers dramatic performance boost for home networks

Kansas Heart Hospital- Paying the ransom still wasn’t enough

bitcoin, ransomware

The Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, recently found themselves at the mercy of a ransomware nightmare. Seeing as the demands were not unattainable or extremely high, the hospital decided to simply pay the Bitcoin, thinking that would be the end. Not quite. After the hospital paid the Bitcoin, the hackers decided that the hospital was a willing target for even more money! The hackers received payment and decided to hold back some of the data they had encrypted and proceeded to demand more money from the Kansas Hospital.

To my surprise, the Kansas Heart Hospital didn’t end up giving any more funds to the hackers. We aren’t sure if they decided the data was not of importance, or if the hospital employed some tech support from a trusted source. Whichever the case, I appreciate the hospital standing firm in their decision to not pay anymore Bitcoin. As many have been urged to not pay absurd ransomware demands, it can be terrifying when the circumstance comes about. Helpless, I’m sure is how many ransomware victims feel.

Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of malware and ransomware threats. Nearly half the hospitals in the United States have been attacked by some variable of malware/ransomware. An official at the Kansas Heart Hospital even told reporters that they “were aware of the ransomware threat and had a plan in place to deal with it”. Better make sure you have a plan B too.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Hospital pays ransom, ransomware demands more money

Antivirus – Top 4 on the Market in 2016

 

Keep your computer healthy and your stress low, with an easy to manage antivirus software. A wealth of options exist, so with the help of researcher Neil Rubenking at PCMag, we have comprised a list of the top antivirus programs. Each product has been reviewed and lab tested in order to provide real results and data. In times of trouble no one wants a program that can’t handle the pressure.

Top 4 Commercial Antivirus Software on the Market

Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2016)1444039371_kaspersky-antivirus-2016-16.0.0.424

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan

 

 

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2016

Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky performed at the top of the scale in independent Lab tests.

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan
  • Website Ratingbd2016-boxshots-av-online-en_1_2

McAfee AntiVirus Plus (2016)

A single subscription of McAfee AntiVirus Plus allows you to install protection on all of your Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS devices.

  • On Demand Malware Scan Product_Page_Product-Overview_Pack-image_AntiVirus-Plus_320x430
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Bonus – Vulnerability Scan
  • Website Rating

 

 

 

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (2016)

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus uses an  unusual behavior based detection technology. This makes Webroot the tiniest antivirus on the market today. This is both good and bad. In theory this Antivirus can protection you from malware, but it can also flag legitimate behaviors made by legitimate users.

  • On Demand Malware Scan
  • On Access Malware Scan
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Website Rating

Antivirus program

 

 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit:The Best Antivirus Utilities for 2016

Apple cleans up Safari, iTunes, and a lot of bugs

Of the many fixes deployed by Apple, Safari was brought to version 9.1.1, patching 7 vulnerabilities in the browser. One of the most detrimental being the loop used to take over a Mac whose user had entered a malicious website. Apple implemented something new along with their patches, now Safari is being run through a beta program of its own with the Technology Preview.This month Apple updated OS X El Captain to version 10.11.5, patching about 70 vulnerabilities, and cleaning house. They also decided to patch older OS X Maverick and OS X Yosemite, from 2013 and 2014 let me remind you.

apple_patches

Apple usually supports an operating system for three years, providing support for the newest edition of Safari and the two prior versions. Just as many of you might remember when Mountain Lion was retired last year, when the newest version drops this year  the oldest edition, Maverick, will also retire. Apple likes to announce the newest version of Mac’s operating system during the June Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple then offers developers and users a preview code before the official release. In addition to Safari clean up and patches, Apple also release iTunes 12,4 which supports many of the new user interface changes with a simpler design. All updates can be downloaded like any other update, from the Apple App Store.


 

If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Apple patches 67 bugs in OS El Capitan, refreshes Safari and iTunes