Tuesday, September 29, 2015



Link to TechEye

Cypress fails in bid for Atmel

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 01:36 AM PDT

Cypress_Contactus-360x240Cypress Semiconductor really does not have much luck when it comes to consolidation.

While everyone admits that the chip industry is consolidating faster than the Greek debt, Cypress is being shunned like a rabid dog.

It has withdrawn its offer for Atmel, the second failed attempt by the company to acquire a chipmaker this year. Cypress submitted a bid to Atmel’s board, but dropped it after the offer expired, Cypress said. Cypress also tried to buy chipmaker Integrated Silicon Solution earlier this year but lost out to Uphill Investment, which clinched a deal in June for more than $700 million.

Atmel, which makes microcontrollers used in a wide array of electronics, instead allowed itself ot be bought by Dialog Semiconductor for about $4.6 billion. It is not clear why Cypress could not go through with it, money is likely.

But Cypress believed its offer was superior to Dialog’s cash-and-stock deal. Cypress shares dropped as much as 5.8 percent on Monday on the news.

Dialog, which is listed in London, has seen its shares drop about 20 percent since the deal with Atmel was announced, as investors became sceptical of the potential combination.


Carmakers use copyright to hide emission cheating software

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 01:36 AM PDT

b299405f6eafe0ac98ce9d9405a17663 (1)Carmakers are using the US copyright laws to cheat US emission laws, claiming that allowing independent researchers to look under the car bonnets breaks the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF] claims that researchers could have uncovered Volkswagen emissions cheat sooner if the carmaker had not hidden behind the DMCA.

Writing in its bog the EFF said that carmakers argue that it's unlawful for independent researchers to look at the code that controls vehicles without the manufacturer's permission.

Apparently they use the DMCA to prevent competition in the markets for add-on technologies and repair tools. But it also makes it harder for watchdogs to find safety or security issues, such as faulty code that can lead to unintended acceleration or vulnerabilities that let an attacker take over your car.

As a test the EFF asked the Librarian of Congress to grant an exemption to the DMCA to make it crystal clear that independent research on vehicle software doesn't violate copyright law. This was opposed by the manufacturers who claimed that individuals would use the to violate emissions laws. Ironically the Environmental Protection Agency supported the manufacturers because it was worried that individual users would doctor their cars to cheat car tests.

What the EFF, and we guess the EPA did not know at the time Volkswagen had already programmed its entire fleet of vehicles to conceal how much pollution they generated using that code.

This code was shielded from watchdogs' investigation by the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA.

"When you entrust your health, safety, or privacy to a device, the law shouldn't punish you for trying to understand how that device works and whether it is trustworthy. We hope the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress agree when they rule on our exemptions next month,"  the EFF said.


Facebook was nearly more out than in

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 01:35 AM PDT

hokey cokeyYou would think that a big organisation like Facebook would not have global outages, but apparently they managed to have two in one week.

Facebook restored access to its social media website for most users on Monday afternoon, after its second outage in less than a week.

According to Currentlydown.com, Facebook was down for about 42 minutes between 3PM and 4PM US time.

"We are currently restoring Facebook services that people had trouble accessing earlier today due to a configuration. We are working to bring things back to normal for everyone,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Facebook’s map on Downdetector.com, which monitors disruptions, showed major outages over parts of North America. However we know that the outage affected the UK and mainland Europe.
The social network’s mobile app was also back in service, while its Messenger services was working during the outage.

Facebook suffered a similar outage on Thursday of last week when it was down in North America, Europe, Australia and India.

So far Facebook has not come up with an explanation for the problem, which must be a little worrying.

Hackers steal your voice

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 01:34 AM PDT


2672889152_0fa1bf6ebc_bSecurity experts are looking into ways attackers can fool voice-based security systems by impersonating a person's voice.

A team at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), has found that using readily available voice morphing software, hackers are able to administer voice imitation attacks to breach automated and human authentication systems.

The research was presented last week at the European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS) in Vienna, Austria.

Nitesh Saxena said that people rely on the use of their voices all the time, it becomes a comfortable practice to base security systems around them.

"What they may not realize is that level of comfort lends itself to making the voice a vulnerable commodity. People often leave traces of their voices in many different scenarios. They may talk out loud while socializing in restaurants, giving public presentations or making phone calls, or leave voice samples online," he added.

"Voice is a characteristic unique to each person, it forms the basis of the authentication of the person, giving the attacker the keys to that person's privacy."

Hackers can easily record a voice clip if they are within close proximity of their target, over the phone via a spam call by using audio snippets found online.

Advanced voice morphing software can also create an extremely close imitation of a person's voice from a limited number of audio samples, allowing an attacker to speak any message in the victim's voice.

With a few minutes' worth of audio in a victim's voice would lead to the cloning of the victim's voice.

The researchers tested voice-biometrics, or speaker-verification used to secure systems, such as online banking, smartphone PIN locks and government access control. They also looked at the impact of stealing voices to imitate humans in conversation, such as morphing celebrity voices and posting snippets online, leaving fake voice messages, and creating false audio evidence in court.

The majority of advanced voice-verification algorithms were trumped by the researchers' attacks, with only a 10-20 per cent rate of rejection. Humans told to verify voice samples only rejected about half of the morphed clips.

Google gets into quantum computing

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 08:09 AM PDT

GoogleSearch giant Google has entered into an agreement with quantum computing company D-Wave in a move that will give it access to processors based on the technology as soon as they come into being.

Quantum computing is, so far, only in its early stages, and is based on the potential power of sub atomic particles to deliver super fast computing speeds.

According to Bloomberg, Google will have access to quantum processors. It already has its own division concentrating on hardware research using the technology.

Universities in the USA are also working on the technology and apparently IBM and Microsoft have their own divisons working on research.

Last month, D-Wave systems announced general availability of the 2X computing system and claims a 15 times advantage over other computing systems.

D-Waves system operates at temperatures near to absolute zero and has 128,000 tunnel junctions.

Sophos parter firm charged with fraud

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 07:00 AM PDT

international-justice-dayFive men from a Sophos Gold Solution Partner will appear in Oxford Crown Court today charged with various counts of fraud.

Alistair Barnard, Jon Townsend, Steve Davis, Paul Streeter and Paul Cox – all of Kidlington based Quadsys, are either charged with fraud, or conspiracy to commit fraud and other counts.

According to the Oxford Mail, Quadsys customers include a football club and a national newspaper group.

The offences are alleged to have been after June 5th, 2013.

Paul Cox and Paul Streeter are both directors of the limited company.

Quadsys sells services including cyber security, software and hardware.

IBM adds more cloud to mix

Posted: 28 Sep 2015 06:51 AM PDT

IBM logoBig Blue has opened a new cloud centre in Bangalore and has added a bunch of additional services to its cloud portfolio.

It is aiming at the retail market that lets shops target customers using big data.

It has also introduced what it calls "personalised learning" – a package that is aimed at corporations that need to train up people.

And it has introduced a service it calls "insights for a connected world" – a platform that is aimed at the internet of things and which churns data from many sources into analytics that can be sold on or improve businesses from inside.

IBM said it now has over 20 different answers for different businesses from vertical markets to business functions.

The Bangalore centre is intended to let IBM's customers and partners work together with its own consultants to personalise the different industry platforms it sells.

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