Latest Technology News

Macs are vulnerable to Thunderstrike 2 firmware malware that survives formatting

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Macs have long been touted as being immune to viruses and malware -- but there have been plenty of vulnerabilities that show this to be a fallacy. Apple's own claims that its hardware was not susceptible to the same firmware security flaws as PCs served only to encourage people to prove the company wrong.

At Black Hat USA on Thursday, researchers will demonstrate that not only can Macs be remotely infected with malware, but that this malware can survive a user formatting the system. In a talk at the InfoSec event in Las Vegas that focuses on all manner of security topics, Trammell Hudson, Xeno Kovah, and Corey Kallenberg will show that Macs are just as vulnerable to remote attacks as PCs using the Thunderstrike 2 backdoor.

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You don't need to use a Microsoft Account to download apps from Window 10's Store

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With Windows 10, Microsoft is particularly keen for you to use a Microsoft Account. It's something that was present in Windows 8, and it is still billed as a way to sync settings and apps between computers. While you may be encouraged to use a Microsoft Account, it is not necessary -- you can use a local account, but if you decide to download apps from the Store, you'll be prompted to switch this to a Microsoft Account.

If you're concerned about the privacy implications of using a Microsoft Account, you may want to avoid using it whenever possible. Sign into the Store with a Microsoft ID, however, and you'll find that your local account is converted into a Microsoft account. Here's how to download apps without having to switch.

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The 12 most-destructive viruses [Infographic]

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The world of computer viruses has changed drastically over the last 25 or so years. In the early days, internet users were very naïve towards email attachments, contributing to the alarming speed that viruses could spread across the globe.

These days, viruses very rarely land in our inboxes due to preconfigured firewalls and strict measures from the likes of Gmail and Outlook.

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Nest Learning Thermostat gets new security update

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The Internet of Things can be a blessing and a curse. We all want devices that work for us, and home automation has become big business. Lights, among many other things, can be set or simply controlled from a phone or tablet, and thermostats are going that way as well.

The problem is security, as IoT devices can have all sorts of problems that people haven't faced before. Nest can change your home's temperature on its own and a hacker could, potentially, do the same. That's part of what this update is designed to address, though there are other features as well.

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Privacy alert: your laptop or phone battery could track you online

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Is the battery in your smartphone being used to track your online activities? It might seem unlikely, but it's not quite as farfetched as you might first think. This is not a case of malware or hacking, but a built-in component of the HTML5 specification.

Originally designed to help reduce power consumption, the Battery Status API makes it possible for websites and apps to monitor the battery level of laptops, tablets, and phones. A paper published by a team of security researchers suggests that this represents a huge privacy risk. Using little more than the amount of power remaining in your battery, it is possible for people to be identified and tracked online.

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Microsoft acquires gamification platform FantasySalesTeam to bring fun to Dynamics CRM

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When you work in sales, there can be rewarding moments, but there are many negative moments too. Not only can the career be boring at times, but it can also be very stressful. You constantly have to worry about meeting goals and performing well. A bad month or quarter could mean a loss of employment or the inability to pay bills.

Gamification, however, can make reaching goals fun. If you aren't familiar, this is a method of integrating video game type badges and levels into boring work tasks in an effort to make it more fun and less stressful. Today, Microsoft announces the acquisition of Incent Games Inc, and its gamification platform, FantasySalesTeam.

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How to activate Windows 10's secret God Modes

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Windows 7 introduced a useful hidden God Mode that displays all of the admin tools and control options on a single screen. This feature was carried over to Windows 8.x, and the good news is, because Microsoft has yet to phase out Control Panel, it also works just fine in Windows 10.

It’s very easy to action God Mode -- you just need to create a folder and give it a special name -- and there’s actually quite a few alternative God Modes available. Here’s what you need to do.

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New version of RIG exploit kit sees 34 percent attack success rate

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At the beginning of this year the RIG exploit kit had its source code leaked online by an unhappy reseller. This led to a hit in its success rate as security company Trustwave published details of its workings.

Trustwave has revealed today at BlackHat that RIG's authors have been working on a new RIG 3.0 version. The company's researchers say there are now up to 1.25 million victims worldwide and more than 3.6 million attack attempts. A remarkable success rate of 34 percent.

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The resurgence of the business landline phone

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With each new generation comes a new object, trend or fad that people point back to down the road and say "I remember the days when THAT was popular!" Baby boomers grew up with parents who told tales of walking uphill both ways to school, and Millennials heard their parents talk about waiting in line for gasoline and when penny candy actually cost one cent. For Millennials who grew up with VCRs and CD players, there’s no question they’ll be telling their future children and grandchildren of the days of rewinding tapes and scratched CDs.

One technology that has dominated the 21st century is the mobile phone. After adoption began growing at an exponential rate, it was clear that mobile phones would disrupt the telecommunications industry as it had existed for decades. It seemed that the popularity of landlines in both businesses and homes might fall into the "what used to be" category -- that is, until a recent study from Invoca found that not only is the landline far from dead, it’s thriving when it comes to business use.

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Choosing the right software for your startup [Infographic]

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So, you’ve perfected the business plan, moved into a brand new office and hired your first employees to get things started.

But, there’s one area of your startup that you probably haven’t thought about as much: the software. The efficiency and effectiveness of your startup will be impacted depending on the software you choose, so getting it right is vital.

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Nokia sells HERE to Audi, BMW and Daimler for €2.8 billion

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It's finally official. Nokia today announced the sale of its HERE division to German car makers Audi, BMW and Daimler. The mapping and location services business is probably best known for powering products offered by major tech companies like Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft.

Audi, BMW and Daimler have agreed to pay €2.8 billion ($3.07 billion at the time of writing this article) to gain ownership of HERE, with Nokia expecting to receive "slightly above €2.5 billion", after factoring in "certain defined liabilities" coming in at just under €300 million. Not too shabby, but well below the rumored asking price of $4 billion.

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Windows 10 will be a great operating system -- when it's finished

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It could be said, with Windows now a service, Windows 10 will never truly be finished, but the truth is the version of the new operating system that’s out now is a long way from being polished enough for prime time. It’s like an Insider Preview build that’s been released entirely in error.

In an effort to wash away the stench of Windows 8, Microsoft has chosen to rush release Windows 10, and the result is an operating system that is clearly still very much a work in progress. The new OS isn’t anywhere near as half-baked as Windows 8 was when that launched, but there are still far too many issues to be ignored. Put bluntly, it's a bit of a mess in places.

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ISPs in India told to block access to 857 porn sites

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Porn is big business online, but it's also at the center of many a debate surrounding decency, child protection, and censorship. The Indian government has ordered that ISPs in the country block access to more than 800 porn sites in a bid to stop children viewing unsuitable material.

Interestingly, while access to porn is being restricted, it is not being blocked outright. The aim is not to stop adults from viewing pornography but to "protect India's cultural fabric" in addition to protecting children.

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.NET check and repair tools now support Windows 10

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Aaron Stebner’s .NET Framework Setup Verification Utility and .NET Framework Cleanup Tool have been updated to support .NET 4.6 and Windows 10.

The programs still support every release of .NET from 1.0 upwards, and although they’re mostly targeted at expert users, there’s something here for everyone.

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Why killing Flash may be a huge mistake

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Flash might be a buggy program with multiple holes in its system. Flash might also be extremely vulnerable and a potential risk to millions of users out there.

But Flash should not be discarded, believes Cisco security veteran John Stewart, saying it might in fact be the lesser of two evils.

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