Latest Technology News

Symantec uncovers Regin, a highly advanced stealth spying tool developed by a nation state

Symantec uncovers Regin, a highly advanced stealth spying tool developed by a nation state

Security firm Symantec has released details of an advanced cyberespionage it has discovered. Called Regin, the backdoor Trojan is described as having a structure that "displays a degree of technical competence rarely seen". Symantec goes as far as saying that the levels of resources required to create such a highly advanced tool indicate that it was created by a nation state -- although there is no suggestion about who it might be.

The report says that Regin has already been used in mass surveillance programs not by but against government organizations. Symantec estimates that the tool may have been years in development, as it delivers multi-stage attacks, and great lengths are taken to hide each stage. The framework was designed to facilitate long-term surveillance, and the concealment techniques used make Regin difficult to fully understand.

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Apple and Microsoft both appear in TIME's best inventions of 2014

Apple and Microsoft both have entries in TIME's best inventions of 2014

It's the time of year -- no pun intended -- when websites and magazines start to reflect over the year that has passed. As we reach the closing stages of 2014, TIME has taken a look back at the preceding months and picked out its highlights from the world of innovation in its annual collection of "the best inventions making the world better, smarter and—in some cases—a little more fun".

There may not be quite the same importance placed on TIME's favorite inventions as its annual person of the year award, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless. With a print circulation running into millions, it's a publication that holds some influence across swathes of America. Apple and Microsoft make appearances in the list, but there are a few surprise inclusions from the world of tech as well.

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Frank Lantz -- Director of Logitech's 'Together We Game' project [Q&A]

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Video games are currently a wildly popular entertainment medium for all ages, but earlier perceptions were that they are only for children. You see, in the early days of video games, they were viewed as somewhat of a toy; appropriate for young people. Guess what happened? Those children and teens grew up, but they did not grow out of playing the games. More importantly, some of them grew up to become game developers.

Sadly, not all of us could become developers -- the world needed boring and mindless jobs to be filled too. With that said, earlier this year, Logitech launched 'Together We Game' -- a crowdsourced video game project, where anyone on the internet can contribute and vote on ideas for the development of a tower defense video game. In other words, for those of us that never got to make our own game, Logitech is empowering us to get involved with one. BetaNews recently had the opportunity to ask Frank Lantz, director of the project, some questions.

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UnityPDF [Review]

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UnityPDF would like to be the tool of choice for batch PDF processing. It can split or merge files, extract all or selected pages, divide one file into several, rotate every page in a file, insert pages from one file into another, password-protect or set permissions for your PDFs, even display or clean metadata.

That’s a solid set of features, and we were interested to see that UnityPDF had once been a commercial product, if only briefly (it’s now free for any use). Time for a closer look.

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Gamer alert -- you can now play Tetris on your Roku

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Most people don't think of a set-top box as a gaming device, but that concept has been changing recently. Amazon's Fire TV and  Google's new Nexus Player are both enabled with capability that has the gamer in mind. Now Roku is stepping up as well.

The company announces that the classic game of Tetris is now available to its customers. "Casual gaming is a great feature available on Roku players and is perfect for a little friendly competition on family game nights. The addition of the Tetris game to the Roku Channel Store provides another great option for a fun, engaging game to keep your whole family entertained".

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Take full control of Windows updates with ABC-Update

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It’s important to keep Windows up-to-date, and the easiest way to make that happen is to let the operating system handle everything. Set Windows Update to "automatic" and get on with something else.

But if you need more control, some way to install only your chosen updates, at a time that’s convenient for you, then it might be worth looking at ABC-Update.

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Businesses are failing to take security seriously enough

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Companies are still failing to properly protect themselves from potential attacks and hackers, with security not being given enough weight of consideration -- and indeed, many firms haven’t even covered the fundamentals of keeping intruders out of their networks and data.

This is according to Neira Jones, a security expert who chairs the Global Advisory Board for the Centre for Strategic Cybercrime & Security Science, who criticized businesses for failing to "fix the basics" of protecting data, and lacking sufficient "cyber-security awareness programs".

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Google Claus gifting 1TB of Drive storage to new Chromebook buyers

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Santa Claus is a great man; he delivers gifts to all of us as a reward for being good. While people have tried to trick me into thinking he isn't real, I refuse to fall for it. Of course he is real! Who else is putting presents under my tree? My mom? I think I would have caught her by now.

As great as Santa Claus is, apparently, Google is looking to get into the gifting game too. You see, the search-giant is giving away 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years. Hell, for many, that is better than a crappy wooden train from Santa Claus! To score the free storage, you only need to buy a new Chromebook.

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Vintager 2014 lets you transform digital snaps into photos of yesteryear

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There’s something to be said for the way old printed photos age over time, as they turn yellow or sepia, coloring our own perception of the past. With the rise of digital, of course, all that has come to an end, with photos promising to remain as color-sharp, bright and vibrant as the day they were originally shot.

If you wonder how those photos might look in the future had they been shot on film and left to fade over time, there’s no need to wait if you’re a Windows user. Simply install Vintager 2014 and you can see how they might have looked 20, 30 or even 40 years hence.

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Alienware Alpha is the next-gen console ready to take on PS4 and Xbox One

Alienware Alpha is the next-gen console ready to take on PS4 and Xbox One

It must be coming up to Christmas; Alienware, the game-focused arm of Dell, is beginning to ship its new gaming console. The Alienware Alpha is described as the world's first PC gaming console, and it has been designed to blend the power of a gaming rig with the ease of use of a console. With prices starting at $549, gamers have the ability to customize their hardware to suit their needs. The Alpha runs Windows 8.1, and it includes either 4GB or 8GB of RAM, as well as a USB adapted Xbox 360 controller.

The price of the console is bumped up for anyone opting to increase the size of the hard drive or speed of the processor, but the aim here is to blow the Xbox One and PS4 out of the water with raw power.

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Best Windows 8 apps this week

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One-hundred and eight in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps and games released for Windows 8 in the last seven days.

Microsoft revealed its Black Friday deals earlier this week. Starting November 27 customers from the US and Canada will be able to save up to $150 on a Surface Pro 3 or a Surface 2 purchase with deals available on Microsoft's official store, Microsoft retail stores and participating stores such as Best Buy.

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HBO GO reaches the living room via Xbox One

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HBO GO has been in the news lately, especially when the HBO network announced that it will be discontinuing its paid cable/satellite service restriction and turn it into a stand-alone service. It's also now making inroads into the living room -- perhaps in preparation for that big move next year. To that end, the network is moving into the Xbox One ecosystem.

Larry Hryb, better known to most folks as Major Nelson, announces the release -- "HBO GO is arriving on Xbox One in the US, bringing along every episode from every season of your favorite HBO shows. With HBO GO, subscribers can watch the latest episodes from shows like 'True Detective', 'Game of Thrones' and 'Girls', along with your favorite hits like 'Entourage' and 'The Sopranos', HBO GO on Xbox One features Kinect voice and gesture control so you can easily search the entire catalog via gestures or voice commands".

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The rising importance of big data to big business

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Analysis of large volumes of information is increasingly used by businesses to gain an advantage. A new infographic produced by big data specialist Datameer looks at how it’s being used to gain a competitive edge.

Among the highlights are that the global Hadoop Market is projected to be worth $50.2 billion by the year 2020, a huge increase from the $1.5 billion it was worth in 2012.

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Android 5.0 Lollipop encryption severely impacts performance

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Encrypting your device may make it more secure, but it also makes it slower due to the added overhead. This is not much of a problem on a fast PC or laptop, as its hardware is able to cope with the extra load. It, however, is a major reason for concern on Android 5.0 Lollipop devices, such as Google's new Nexus 6. Android 5.0 Lollipop is at fault here.

Anandtech has discovered that the difference in performance can be as high as 80.7 percent, and as low as 50.5 percent, between Nexus 6 with encryption turned on and with the feature disabled. Meanwhile, those who update to Android 5.0 Lollipop on Nexus 5 will also notice a notable difference in performance, albeit not as big, even with encryption disabled.

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How the Internet of Things will change the world

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The definition of the Internet of Things is "intelligent interactivity between humans and things to exchange information and knowledge for new value creation". Try saying that after a glass of wine! There’s been a lot of talk about the IoT in the business world, and with good reason. It’s chock full of potential to improve performance, reduce costs, drive innovation and create new revenue streams. Of course, we’ve now reached the point where the talk is turning into action -- technology is adapting and businesses are planning IoT strategies.

Forrester Consulting say: "We are at the tipping point for broader IoT adoption with 53 percent of organizations planning to implement an IoT solution in the next 24 months. Organizations in Asia Pacific and Latin America are more aggressive with 69 and 60 percent respectively, planning to implement over the same time period".

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