Web.com Latest Hacking Victim

September 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Comments Off on Web.com Latest Hacking Victim

Hackers gain unauthorized access to the computers of Internet services provider Web.com Group and stole credit card information of 93,000 customers.

According to a website set up by the company to share information about the incident, Web.com discovered the security breach on Aug. 13 as part of its ongoing security monitoring.

Attackers compromised credit card information for around 93,000 accounts, as well as the names and addresses associated with them. No other customer information like social security numbers was affected, the company said.

According to the company, the verification codes for the exposed credit cards were not leaked. However, there are websites on the Internet that don’t require such codes for purchases.

Web.com has notified affected customers via email and will also follow up with letters sent through the U.S. Postal Service. Those users can sign up for a one-year free credit monitoring service.

The company did not specify how the intruders gained access to its systems, but has hired a “nationally recognized” IT security firm to conduct an investigation.

Web.com provides a variety of online services, including website and Facebook page design, e-commerce and marketing solutions, domain registration and Web hosting. The company claims to have over 3.3 million customers and owns two other well known Web services companies: Register.com and Network Solutions.

Register.com and Network Solutions customers were not impacted by this breach unless they also purchased services directly from Web.com.


Apple TV Service Delayed Again

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Comments Off on Apple TV Service Delayed Again

Apple Inc will push back rolling out its live TV service to at least next year, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.

The company had planned to introduce the service, which is delivered over the Internet, this year.

Discussions with broadcasters such as CBS Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc to license programming are progressing slowly, and lack of content has led Apple to scrap plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event, Bloomberg said.

Apple also lacked the computer network capacity to ensure a good viewing experience, Bloomberg said.

The company still plans to introduce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box at the event, which will be held in San Francisco.

Apple was aiming to price the new service at about $30 to $40 a month, media reports have said.


Has The iPhone Peaked in The U.S.?

August 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Smartphones

Comments Off on Has The iPhone Peaked in The U.S.?

Apple’s vice like grip in the US smartphone market is falling off as sales of the overpriced gadgets slump.

Research outfit Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said the 2.3 per cent drop in US sales had been covered by rises in China, Japan and Australia.

But the fact that Apple’s home ground is the US and that it has become increasingly dependent on its iPhone, this statistic does not bode well, particularly as the company depends on continual growth to maintain its share price the whole lot is starting become unstuck.

For the second quarter of 2015, iPhone sales grew by 2.1 percent from the same quarter last year across Europe’s five biggest markets, namely the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Growth was strongest in the UK at 5.5 percent and weakest in Italy at only 0.1 percent. Beyond Europe, iPhone sales surged by 9.1 per cent  in Australia, 7.3 percent in China and 2.7 percent in Japan.

It is worthwhile pointing that the European growth outside the UK, Australia and China is more indicative of a flat market rather than actual growth.

A possible reason for the fall in the US is better competition from Android where Apple’s Android rivals provided a tougher fight.

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a press release. “In the U.S., as we forecasted last month, Android’s growth continued in the quarter ending June 30, with both Samsung and LG increasing their share sequentially. Forty-three percent of all Android buyers mentioned a ‘good deal on the price of the phone’ as the main purchase driver for their new device.”

“Android in the U.S. is undergoing its strongest consolidation yet, with Samsung and LG now accounting for 78 percent of all Android sales,” Milanesi added. “LG is the real success story of the quarter. Not only did it double its share of the US smartphone market once again, but it was also able, for the first time, to acquire more first-time smartphone buyers than Samsung.”

Screen size was the main driver for Android buyers across Europe, according to Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar. Samsung and LG both sell big-screen “phablet” phones. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 sports a 5.7-inch screen, while LG’s G4 packs in a 5.5-inch screen.

Though the iPhone 6 Plus also uses a 5.5-inch display, iOS buyers are driven by a wider range of factors, Sunnebo said, including “phone reliability and durability, as well as the quality of the materials.”

Of course if you are member of Tame Apple Press you will forget to report the news and say the opposite and claim that the iPhone’s wonderful sales are a problem.


Oracle’s New Processor Goes For The Cheap

August 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Comments Off on Oracle’s New Processor Goes For The Cheap

Oracle is looking to expand the market for its Sparc-based servers with a new, low-cost processor which it curiously called Sonoma.

The company isn’t saying yet when the chip will be in the shops but the spec shows that could become a new rival for Intel’s Xeon chips and make Oracle’s servers more competitive.

Sonoma is named after a place where they make cheap terrible Californian wine  and Oracle aims the chip at Sparc-based servers at “significantly lower price points” than now.

This means that companies can use them for smaller, less critical applications.

Oracle has not done much with its Sparc line-up for a couple of years, and Sonoma was one of a few new chips planned. The database maker will update its Sparc T5, used in its mid-range systems and the high-end Sparc M7. The technology is expected to filter to the Sonoma lower tier servers.

The Sparc M7 will have technologies for encryption acceleration and memory protection built into the chip. It will include coprocessors to speed up database performance.

According to IDG Sonoma will take those same technologies and bring them down to low-cost points. This means that people can use them in cloud computing and for smaller applications.

He didn’t talk about prices or say how much cheaper the new Sparc systems will be, and it could potentially be years before Sonoma comes to market.


Yahoo Acquires Polyvore

August 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Comments Off on Yahoo Acquires Polyvore

Yahoo Inc announced on Friday that it has agreed to acquire fashion start-up Polyvore to help drive traffic and strengthen its mobile and social offerings.

Yahoo, which did not disclose terms of the deal, said Polyvore will accelerate its ‘Mavens’ growth strategy.

The company has been focusing on four areas — mobile, video, native advertising and social — which it calls Mavens, to drive user engagement and ad sales as it battles intense competition from Google Inc and Facebook Inc .

Revenue from Mavens made up about one-third of the company’s total revenue in the quarter ended June 30.

The Mavens portfolio includes BrightRoll, mobile app network Flurry, mobile ad buying platform Yahoo Gemini and blogging site Tumblr.

Polyvore, the brainchild of 3 ex-Yahoo engineers, was started in 2007.

The Mountain View, California-based company allows users to mix-and-match articles of clothing and accessories and customize them into “sets”.

Polyvore’s co-founder and CEO Jess Lee was earlier part of Google Inc’s  associate manager program, which Marissa Mayer headed before joining Yahoo as CEO.


Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

July 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Comments Off on Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

Yahoo is beefing up its search service on mobile devices, following Google’s lead by highlighting content such as images, videos and reviews ahead of regular search results

The changes will apply to Yahoo search on the mobile web in the U.S., in browsers such as Safari and Chrome. Yahoo’s mobile app and desktop site already provide some additional content within results.

A search on the mobile web for Barack Obama, for instance, displays information about him from Wikipedia, such as his height and birth date, as well as links to news, images and YouTube videos. In one search Thursday, the videos included some curious choices, including “Barack Obama is Illuminati.”

Google already highlights a variety of content related to search queries, including news and related tweets, as well as links to other services like Maps. Microsoft’s Bing does something similar.

Because Yahoo is playing catch-up, the changes might not attract many new users, but they could help it retain people who use Yahoo for mobile searches today.

In the last quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for half of Yahoo’s search traffic in North America, up from 32 percent during the same period in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer.


Facebook To Require Stronger Digital Signature

June 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Security

Comments Off on Facebook To Require Stronger Digital Signature

Facebook will require application developers to adopt a more secure type of digital signature for their apps, which is used to verify a program’s legitimacy.

As of Oct. 1, apps will have to use SHA-2 certificate signatures rather than ones signed with SHA-1. Both are cryptographic algorithms that are used to create a hash of a digital certificate that can be mathematically verified.

Apps that use SHA-1 after October won’t work on Facebook anymore, wrote Adam Gross, a production engineer at the company, in a blog post.

“We recommend that developers check their applications, SDKs, or devices that connect to Facebook to ensure they support the SHA-2 standard,” Gross wrote.

SHA-1 has been considered weak for about a decade. Researchers have shown it is possible to create a forged digital certificate that carries the same SHA-1 hash as legitimate one.

The type of attack, called a hash collision, could trick a computer into thinking it is interacting with a legitimate digital certificate when it actually is a spoofed one with the same SHA-1 hash. Using such a certificate could allow an attacker to spy on the connection between a user and an application or website.

Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and other organizations have also moved away from SHA-1 and said they will warn users of websites that are using a connection that should not be trusted.

The Certificate and Browser Forum, which developers best practices for web security, has recommended in its Baseline Requirements that digital certificate issuers stop using SHA-1 as of Jan. 1.


Broadcom Aquired?

June 8, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Comments Off on Broadcom Aquired?

It is starting to look Broadcom will get bought out by its rival Avago as deep throats within both outfits think a deal is close.

Avago is in advanced buyout talks to acquire Broadcom, which manufacturers chips for both the smartphone and broadband industries. The two companies are more or less the same size, but at the moment Broadcom is the weaker partner

It has been the subject of previous speculation regarding acquisitions. The company is among the largest maker of chips for mobile systems such as smartphones, tablets and wearables, Internet of things (IoT) devices and automotive technology products.

Such capabilities could give Avago greater traction in fast-growing markets like IoT and mobile devices.

Broadcom announced last year that it was closing its baseband cellular chip business after being unable to gain inroads against such competitors as Qualcomm. The company had $8.4 billion in revenue last year.

It seems everyone wants a lot more consolidation in the chip industry. Intel reportedly resumed buyout talks to acquire Altera earlier this month, with the parties eyeing a potential price that could reach $13 billion. Micron was tipped as a potential buyer of rival SanDisk.

An April report cited a note from Bernstein analyst Mark Newman. According to this report, Newman pointed to SanDisk’s current valuation as making it a prime takeover target for rival NAND chip maker Micron, as well as other players in the market.


Intel Rewards RealSense Developers

May 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Computing

Comments Off on Intel Rewards RealSense Developers

Intel has awarded  $1m to a number of developers as part of its RealSense 3D App Challenge, which was launched last year.

Announced by Intel president Renee James at Computex 2014, the RealSense App Challenge was part of Intel’s efforts to boost RealSense globally and generate software innovation around the ecosystem.

More than 7,000 software creators in 37 countries applied to compete, and 400 were selected to develop new applications for entertainment, learning and collaboration.

Several hundred developers of creative app ideas in these categories received the latest edition of the RealSense 3D Camera and RealSense software development kit, which included free tools, examples and application programing interfaces with which to develop their ideas.

Intel announced on Thursday that the grand prize winner, who picks up $100,000, is Brazilian developer Alexandre Ribeiro da Silva of Anima Games.

His Seed app requires gamers to use reflexes and rational thinking to solve puzzles. The goal of the game is to guide a little floating seed through its journey to reforest a devastated land.

The second prize of $50,000 was awarded to Canadian developer David Schnare of Kinetisense. His OrthoSense app uses RealSense to help medical professionals remotely rehabilitate a patient who has suffered a hand injury by tracking their range of movement over time.

“This practical application of human-computer interaction is an impressive example of how technology can make our lives better,” Intel said.

Another notable winner was Lee Bamber from the UK, who received recognition for his virtual 3D video maker. The app allows a user to record themselves as a 3D hologram and then transport to a variety of scenes.

Once recorded, they can then change the camera position over the course of the playback to add an extra dimension to a video blogs, storybook or v-mails, for instance.

“The idea of the app is that you can choose the backdrop then set the lighting as you would in a studio then do the acting,” Bamber explained in his video.

Doug Fisher, SVP and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, said in a blog post that now the app challenge is complete “the real work begins”, as Intel Software will continue to encourage all finalists to bring products to market.

“We also will continue mobilising our resources to inspire, educate and advance innovation through programmes such as the Intel Developer Zone, where developers can engage to find new software tools and build industry relationships,” he said.

“Human-computer interactions will no longer be defined by mice, keyboards and 2D displays. Our physical and digital worlds are coming together. When they do, the opportunities for us as consumers and businesses will explode.”


Samsung Buys LoopPay

March 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Comments Off on Samsung Buys LoopPay

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has acquired U.S. mobile wallet startup LoopPay, signaling its intention to launch a smartphone payments service to compete with rival Apple Inc.

Mobile payments have been slow to catch on in the United States and elsewhere, despite strong backing. Apple, Google, and eBay Inc’s PayPal have all launched services to allow users to pay in stores via smartphones.

The weak uptake is partly because many retailers have been reluctant to adopt the hardware and software infrastructure required for these new mobile payment options to work. These services also fail to offer much more convenience than simply swiping a credit card, Samsung executives said on Wednesday.

LoopPay’s technology differs because it works off existing magnetic-stripe card readers at checkout, changing them into contactless receivers, they said. About 90 percent of checkout counters already support magnetic swiping.

“If you can’t solve the problem of merchant acceptance…, of being able to use the vast majority of your cards, then it can’t really be your wallet,” said David Eun, head of Samsung’s Global Innovation Center.

Injong Rhee, who is leading Samsung’s as-yet-unannounced payments project, said the Asian giant will soon reveal more details of its envisioned service. He would not be drawn on speculation the company may do so during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He said new phones such as the upcoming, latest Galaxy would support the service.

Apple Pay, launched in September, allows iPhone users to pay at the tap of a button. Executives have lauded its rapid rollout so far, including the fact that more than 2,000 banks now support it and the U.S. government will accept Apple Pay later this year.

But Apple Pay requires retailers to install near-field communication and some have been reluctant. In addition, many retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and CVS Health Corp, back their own system, CurrentC.

Samsung had invested in LoopPay, along with Visa Inc and Synchrony Financial, before its acquisition. Terms of the deal, which Samsung negotiated over several months, were not disclosed.

It’s unclear how else Samsung could differentiate its service versus Apple’s or other rivals.