Monthly Archives: November 2014
The jury is still out on the validity of this story but it’s worth sharing even if just for a laugh. An nondescript company executive’s computer was recently attacked by malware after charging his e-cigarette using the USB connector, as shared on Yahoo today. IT personnel deduced that when the executive connected the charger to his computer, the e-cig had access to the server and immediately infected the system, despite anti-virus and other security software. We recently posted about USB drives being used for malicious behavior so we feel the latest e-cig story can in fact be true. Regardless if it is or not, we encourage computer users to be careful about what they connect electronically or everything could easily go up in smoke.
One of the saddest sights for technology: payphones. These once life-saving devices now sit unused in cities all over the world creating more of an eyesore than a lifeline. In New York City’s five boroughs, however, this is about to change. Starting in 2015, existing payphone booths will be revamped and joined by more than 10,000 Wi-fi hubs that will be called Links which will offer free wireless internet connectivity all day, every day (barring any technical difficulties that are sure to occur). Once in operation, the Links will allow nearby users to connect to the internet through a secured network, look up directions, and charge mobile devices all in one convenient location. Supposedly at no cost to taxpayers, the upcoming project is a collaboration effort between the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and CityBridge. Through advertising on the internet hubs, the LinkNYC project is expected to make the city more than $500 million dollars in just over ten years of successful use. We’re not sure how successful the program will be but hopefully it inspires other cities to follow New York’s lead and help cut down on citizens’ data overages when they are out and about on the town.
Earlier in the month we shared about how Verizon has been tracking users’ internet habits and selling them to advertisers for personalizing marketing efforts. Remember how we also shared that AT&T was being questioned about similar habits? Turns out that AT&T indeed has a supercookie program, even though they claim it currently isn’t being used. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the company has created an opt out program so that they can legally say they gave users the option to not be tracked before Relevant Advertising is fully rolled out. Want to enroll in the opt out? Visit this USA Today article to learn how: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/11/15/att-tracking-supercookies/19086791/
The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integrations Center and the U. S. Computer Emergency Readiness Teams have shared that a method dubbed as a Masque Attack is being used to hack into iOS operating systems on iPhones and iPads. The “WireLurker” system aims to gain access to log-in credentials sensitive data, and remote monitoring abilities through the affected devices. Refraining from disabling your security measures and only downloading apps from Apple’s App Store are (not surprisingly) the most secure way to avoid the WireLurker. Your iOS tells you not to trust an INSTALL pop-up window? Don’t trust it! While Apple product users should be vigilant as ever, using common sense is your best defense in this latest attack.
Yikes! Turns out Intel manipulated benchmark scores for the first-gen Pentium 4 processors. Not enough techno drama? HP had a hand in the act. The two allegedly published false tests to give the appearance that the new processor was better performing than the AMD Athlon Thunderbird, tests that were done by Intel and not an outside entity as claimed. Even if customers bought systems with the Pentium 4 without knowledge of these fabricated statements, the fact that the companies falsified information in the first place is a big no-no.
The good news in this mess is that you may be able to get a share of the settlement. If you bought a computer with a Pentium processor between November 20, 2000 and June 30, 2002 (regardless of if you have a miraculously still have a receipt or not) you may be eligible to receive a $15 claim. No, $15 isn’t close to what you paid for the unit but it’s better than nothing, right? There is a limited amount that will be refunded so don’t delay in submitting your form soon. If you wait until the April 14, 2015 deadline you’ll likely receive an SOL message in response. To claim your part of the settlement, visit the below link and submit the form online. The link also includes details about the case documents, exclusions that may affect eligibility (like living in Illinois), and customers’ legal rights in the lawsuit.
While it is not yet time to get in line for a terahertz chip powered computer, it is time to recognize that the possibility isn’t as far off as may have been previously assumed. Why? DARPA and Northrop Grumman Corporation have developed the first terahertz amplifier, the Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC). To put this feat into perspective, the difference between what was the norm and the TMIC can be compared to a bottle rocket and a space shuttle. Surely this can’t be true … and yet it is. The former record of 850 gigahertz was shattered with the TMIC’s one trillion cycles per second. The faster turnover should be able to astronomically improve technologies such as security imaging systems, radar, and communications. DARPA’s program manager Dev Palmer describer “terahertz circuits promise to open up new areas of research and unforeseen applications in the sub-millimeter-wave spectrum, in addition to bringing unprecedented performance to circuits operating at more conventional frequencies.” The development team still has more work to do before this new cycle-turnover rate becomes commonplace but we’re confident that we aren’t the only techies eagerly awaiting to see what changes this will ultimately bring to the world.