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Serious Dirty COW bug leaves millions of Linux users vulnerable to attack


A vulnerability discovered in the Linux kernel has been present for nine years, and users are being advised to seek out and install a patch as soon as they possibly can. Dubbed Dirty COW, the bug is a privilege escalation vulnerability which can be found in just about every Linux distro out there.

Discovered by security expert Phil Oester, Dirty COW is described as one of the most serious bugs of its type ever found in Linux. Assigned the code CVE-2016-5195, there is evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited and a website set up to alert people to the problem advises that the "security community should deploy honeypots that entrap attackers and to alert about exploitation attempts".

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76 percent of all Windows 10 users have installed Windows 10 Anniversary Update


Even after a staggered roll out of Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has managed to push the major operating system update to more than three-quarters of Windows 10 users.

The latest figures from AdDuplex show that uptake of Windows 10 Anniversary Update has accelerated dramatically. The latest version of Windows 10 is now installed on no less than 76.6 percent of Windows 10 PCs.

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Amnesty International ranks message apps according to privacy -- Facebook wins!


Despite a desire to be more connected than ever before, people are simultaneously more concerned than ever about their security and privacy. This is certainly true when it comes to messaging tools, and the privacy features offered by a particular app or service can be what sways your decision to use it one way or the other.

Justice group Amnesty International has spent some time analyzing the privacy and encryption found in a number of popular messaging tools and compiled results in a ranked list. The findings make for interesting reading, not least because Facebook is ranked the most highly.

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Warning: Mark Zuckerberg decides what's newsworthy, making him the world's most powerful editor


Facebook has stated time and time and time again that it is not a media company, despite appearing to act very much like one. The company's protestations become all the more difficult to swallow when one looks at the way it handles news. In reality, Facebook wields far more power and influence that it's willing to admit.

There have been countless instances of Facebook censoring posts from individuals, groups and organizations. Facebook appears to have an unwritten (or largely unpublished) set of rules defining what can be posted on the social network, and just this week Facebook staff wanted to censor posts by Donald Trump because they were considered hate speech. Zuckerberg disagreed, overruled his employees and allowed them to go ahead. One rule for us, another rule for them.

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What you need to know about software as a service

Software as a service SaaS

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a new distribution model that is rapidly gaining popularity with businesses all over the world. A branch of cloud computing, SaaS lets businesses and consumers lease a particular piece of software from a third-party supplier, who delivers it over a network connection -- most commonly the Internet.

As with other examples of cloud computing, this provides a number of benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability and affordability, which is why it is hardly surprising that many businesses have been willing to embrace SaaS. In fact, global SaaS revenues are expected to grow 21 percent year over year to $106 billion in 2016.

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Stephen Hawking believes AI could be mankind's last accomplishment

Stephen Hawking

According to Stephen Hawking, artificial Intelligence (AI) and its possible implementations need to be managed with the utmost care in order to prevent its power from falling into the wrong hands or being used in a way that does not benefit mankind as a whole.

The renowned physicist stressed the point that AI could be used to commit deplorable acts in the form of powerful autonomous weapons and other ways in which people in power could use the technology to oppress and control a majority of the population.

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Prior to Apple 'Hello Again' Mac event, Satechi unveils Slim Aluminum Wireless Keypad


Next week, on October 27, Apple will hold a press event called "Hello Again". While the company has not officially announced the products to be unveiled, rumors suggest we will see new Mac computers. Apple has long neglected its desktops and laptops (it still sells a MacBook from 2012), and consumers have been eagerly anticipating refreshed machines with better specifications. It is quite likely that the wants of these folks will be met next week.

Unfortunately for some, Mac computers (and many Windows machines too) no longer have number pads (aka keypads). For those that work in the financial sector, or simply learned to type using a keyboard with a number pad, this can be problematic. Fortunately, there are many third-party options on the market. Today, Satechi releases the all-new Slim Aluminum Wireless Keypad and it looks like a winner. If you are planning to buy one of the rumored new Mac computers, this could be a godsend. Not only does it come in colors to match Apple devices, but it is slimmer than Satechi's prior offering.

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Not every iPhone 7 is created equal

iPhone 7 Plus

Depending on which iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus version you buy, you may experience slower storage and cellular speeds compared to other models in the lineup -- and, at least when it comes to the wireless performance, there may be nothing that you can do about it.

A report on the storage performance of the base iPhone 7 Plus, which features 32GB of storage, reveals that it is a couple of times slower at the same task than a 128GB iPhone 7, in both synthetic and real-life benchmarks.

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Microsoft Q1 FY2017 by the numbers: $22.34 billion revenue, $5.98 billion profit


Microsoft has posted its earnings for Q1 FY2017 (Q3 CY2016), revealing revenue of $22.34 billion, operating income of $7.1 billion, net income of $5.98 billion, and earnings per share of $0.76 cents. The software giant beat analyst expectations of $21.71 billion in revenue and EPS of $0.68. The stock is up around 5.5 percent over yesterday, with shares trading at over $60 -- a record value for the company.

How do the latest numbers compare to Q1 FY2016? A year ago Microsoft reported revenue of $21.66 billion, operating income of $7.07 billion, net income of $5.66 billion and EPS of $0.70. So the revenue, operating income, net income, and EPS are up.

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What you need to know about virtualization

Cloud Datacenter Virtualization

The first question that businesses are likely to ask when considering virtualization is: what exactly is it? In IT terms, hardware virtualization refers to the act of using virtual, rather than physical computer resources. Practically speaking, this means that there is an abstraction layer between the physical hardware and the IT resources that the business consumes. For example, virtualization software will enable a single, physical machine to deliver multiple workloads simultaneously, with each workload only accessing the specific physical resources that are allocated to it.

In its most simple form, virtualization may refer to the partition of a hard drive, as this makes a single, physical storage device behave as if it is two hard drives. However, IT virtualization examples also come in much more complex forms. The core concept to remember is that to the end user, virtualization makes it appear as though they are accessing a single IT component or resource, regardless of the underlying hardware. Virtualization enables businesses to consolidate IT resources, such as network, CPUs, memory and storage and provision them as they see fit, usually via a network connection.

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How can form analytics help businesses increase conversions?

web form

A form is one of the most important elements on many websites because it is where conversions happen, leads are created, and relationships begin.

According to MarketingCharts, Lead Gen forms have an average conversion rate of just 17 percent. As dismal as these numbers are, the good news lies in the immense opportunity left by the 83 percent of visitors who do not convert on forms -- and the data-driven solution to help win over more of them.

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Best Windows apps this week


Two-hundred-and-three in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on Windows Store in the past seven days.

Microsoft has started to remove applications from Windows Store that don't have an age rating. While they should continue to work if you have installed them already on a device, updates and new downloads are not available until the developer or publisher specifies an age rating.

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The legal challenges for autonomous vehicles

Self Driving Car

Gartner described 2015 as the peak of the driverless car "hype cycle", as the battle between established car manufacturers and technology companies intensified to produce driverless or autonomous vehicles. However the driverless car phenomenon has escalated very quickly in recent months with Uber, Google and now traditional car manufacturer Ford having announced their plans to create and test self-driving vehicles, and rumors surfacing of Apple acquiring McLaren.

The US has also recently issued Federal proposed guidelines setting out 15 benchmarks car manufacturers will need to meet before their autonomous vehicles can hit the road. Ford is currently developing in-car connectivity, ride-sharing and autonomous technologies through its subsidiary; Ford Smart Mobility (FSM) and will launch its self-driving car by 2021. This vehicle will come without a steering wheel, an accelerator or pedals -- an image of a car that was probably unimaginable a decade ago and the battle for the dashboard becomes easier to imagine.

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Photo-to-painting converter FotoSketcher gets a test Android release


The popular PC "photo-to-painting" converter FotoSketcher is now available on Android in a very basic, advanced-user-only test release.

This alpha app is only available as a stand-alone .apk file, and if you manage to install it anyway you’ll find there’s only a single painting effect, and even that is a work-in-progress.

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How to enable free 'Canonical Livepatch Service' for Linux kernel live-patching on Ubuntu


Linux 4.0 introduced a wonderful feature for those that need insane up-time -- the ability to patch the kernel without rebooting the machine. While this is vital for servers, it can be beneficial to workstation users too. Believe it or not, some home users covet long up-time simply for fun -- bragging rights, and such.

If you are an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS user (with generic Linux kernel 4.4) and you want to take advantage of this exciting feature, I have good news -- it is now conveniently available for free! Unfortunately, this all-new Canonical Livepatch Service does have a catch -- it is limited to three machines per user. Of course, home users can register as many email addresses as they want, so it is easy to get more if needed. Businesses can pay for additional machines through Ubuntu Advantage. Want to give it a go? Read on.

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