Thursday, October 1, 2015



Link to TechEye

IBM, Box roll out enterprise products

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 05:58 AM PDT

IBM logoBox and IBM said they have introduced the first of a set of products aimed at providing enterprise content management.

IBM and Box said the four products they're wheeling out are IBM Content Navigator with Box; IBM StoredIQ with Box; IBM Case Manager with Box; and IBM Datacap with Box.

The first allows enterprises to search, access and share content using a single integrated view for both mobiles and desktops.

StoredIQ gives an assessment of unstructured data to categorise it and migrate it to the Box platform.

Case Manager optimises results by applying context to content, while Datacap is used to capture documents from different sources, take information from them, and store them in Box.

Box and IBM have had a strategic relationship for some time and intend to bring additional products to enterprise customers.

Apple’s Gatekeeper lets in everyone

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 01:20 AM PDT

1361881119_copy-of-89319101721-500x3173Apple's faith based security for its Mac OS X is is getting a  kicking from security researchers.

Gatekeeper is supposed to stop any application which has not received official clearance from Cappuccino invading the sacred walled garden of rounded rectangle perfection.

It's also been a favourite target of researchers and advanced attackers desperate to gain control of Apple devices who just love seeing the smugness vanish from Apple fanboy's faces when they realise that their faith in the ghost of Steve Jobs to protect them from all malware is a medieval style delusion.

Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack, will demonstrate a Gatekeeper bypass he's been working on. Wardle has told Apple, which is reportedly working on a short-term mitigation until a full patch can be pushed out to users.

The problem is that Wardle's bypass could require some re-architecting of the operating system to fully address the design weakness being exploited. Gatekeeper carries out checks on apps before it allows one to execute on an Apple machine.

It will not allow code to execute that's not signed with an Apple developer certificate or if it's not downloaded from the App Store. But it does not check whether an app runs or loads other apps or dynamic libraries from the same or relative directory.

Gatekeeper signs off only on the first static check and trusts the application is secure and behaving. This means that the attacker could trick the user into downloading a signed and infected app from a third-party source to gain a foothold onto the machine.

Wardle found signed Apple binaries that he used to craft his attack, which would take the form of a DMG file (Apple disk image file) he tricks the user into downloading, for example.

Wardle said his method affects all versions, including El Capitan. He said that Gatekeeper was not a stumbling block. It is not really a bug, but a limitation of Gatekeeper and fixing it requires significant code changes.

Things are looking up for LG

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 01:17 AM PDT


SHORPY_11565a.previewLG, which has been having a rough time lately, expects sales at its mobile division to improve starting from the fourth quarter.

Speaking at a launch event for the new V10 smartphone, LG mobile division chief Cho Juno told reporters the firm will use the high-end device as well as new mid-to-low tier products to boost market share.

He declined to give any specific targets but hinted that the new devices should help LG's bottom line considerably.

LG will start selling the V10 smartphone in South Korea on October 8.

The V10 has two front cameras and a small secondary screen that works independently from the main 5.7-inch display, is priced at $679.6 which is 11 percent lower than domestic rival Samsung cheapest Galaxy Note 5 phablet model.

The firm also said it is preparing its own mobile payments service but declined to elaborate further.

Of course even if the V10 is well priced, and gets good reviews, LG has to deal with the fact that smartphone sales all over the world are falling faster than Julie Cruise on her way to a Twin Peaks remake.


US politicians clueless about tech

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 01:17 AM PDT

clinton-bushThe former UK colony of Virginia is set to fall behind the rest of the world technology wise because its politicians have not got a clue.

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers said that the US government, and none of the candidates for the Republican and Democrat nominations for the US presidency, have a clear digital agenda.

Speaking at BoxWorks 2015 in San Francisco, Chambers praised countries like China, France, India and the UK for recognising the potential of technology to transform an economy and moaned his country had not.

Chambers noted Chinese president Xi's meeting with major tech firms and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Silicon Valley and his vision of a 'Digital India' as examples of what other governments are doing.

Chambers praised French president Francois Hollande's cooperation with industry and UK Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to create a 'Northern Powerhouse.'

"This is the first time that our government has not led a technology transition," he said. "Our government has been remarkably slow. We are the last major developed country in the world without a digital agenda.

"I think every major country has this as one of their top two priorities and we don't. We won't get GDP increase and we won't be as competitive with our startups.

"The real surprise to me was how governments around the world, except ours, moved."

Speaking about the 2016 Presidential Election, Chambers said the US was the only country in the world where the candidates are not articulating a digital strategy.


Anti-virus firm firebombed

Posted: 01 Oct 2015 12:47 AM PDT

Molotov_5923Russian mafia hackers firebombed the research lab of an anti-virus firm after its researchers reverse engineered their malware to protect hole in the wall machines.

The AV software was incorporated into a Dr Web product called Shield which miffed the owner of the VXer malware.

A gang calling itself the Syndicate told the company to remove the scanning from their product or else there would be consequences.   Something along the lines of "that is a nice anti-virus company you have there, we wouldn't want anything to happen to it.

“You have a week to delete all references about ATM skimmers … otherwise Syndicate will stop cash-out transactions and send criminals for your programmers' heads,” the first threat letter read.

Needless to say Dr Web told the scammers to go forth and multiply or remove references to its ATM malware analysis from the web.

So far the St Petersburg laboratory was twice firebombed with only minor damage inflicted.

A subsequent email warned that the Syndicate would destroy all Dr Web offices “throughout the world”

The gangsters also make the surprising claim that they will lobby for the “prohibition of usage of Russian anti-viruses” because such software is the handiwork of Moscow intelligence services.  We are not sure who they would lobby.

The antivirus company says it will not capitulate to VXer threats.

“Doctor Web considers its duty to provide users with the ultimate protection against the encroachments of cybercriminals,” the company says.

Dr Web boss Boris Sharov told KrebsonSecurity the Syndicate was likely a malware customer rather than the authors.

A job was placed on criminal underground forums requesting the bombing of the offices. He says the attacks seemed unprofessional and resulted in more damage from the fire service than the firebomb.

Smartwatch sales bigged up

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 08:13 AM PDT

Apple watchSales of smart watches worldwide are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 152 percent between now and 2019/

That's according to a report from Technavio, which predicts increased penetration of smartphones, high speed broadband and other technical breakthroughs let people use a number of different services including near field communication (NFC).

Faisal Ghaus, a VP of Technavio and who wrote the report predicted the demand for smartwatches is very likely to grow.

He said Apple and Google are testing screen consoles to give people better touch for smartwatches.

The major players in the display side of smartwatches are Futaba, Japan Display, LG Electronics, Samsung and Sharp.

Ghaus said there is demand for both rigid and flexible displays.

Twitter tells boffins how much you earn

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 06:39 AM PDT

TwitterScientists at the University of Pennsylvania claim that they can tell how much money people say they earn by looking at the words they use in their 140 letter tweets.

The scientists collaborated with other universities and Microsoft Research and reasoned that by assessing peoples' social media posts, they can figure out where you stand in the economic pecking order.

In the UK they said they sorted occupations into nine classes and assessed 5,191 Twitter uses with over 10 million tweets.

They created a natural language processing algorithm that looked at words people in each of the nine classes use more than others.

One surprising result is that people who earn more are more angry and fearful, while optimists don't earn very much.

Perhaps not surprisingly, people in lower income brackets use more swear words.

The researchers have yet to assess how the way people classify themselves matches the money they actually earn.

Sapphire prices shrink

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 06:29 AM PDT

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsA perceived lack of demand for LEDs has led to price cuts in the market with increased numbers of suppliers forcing the price of sapphire to fall by 30 percent during the month of September.

Trendforce, which tracks component prices in different industries, said that sapphire manufacturers have reacted to pressure from LED makers by drastically cut prices.

Sapphire substrates are crystallised wafers used to manufacture LEDs and the race is on to create larger wafers for the market to minimise costs and improve performance.

Prices are largely determined by product quality, Trendforce said but intense competition from the many suppliers has forced a price war to please manufacturers of LEDs.

The sapphire wafers are made by slicing ingots and then using them as a substrate.

In general, the industry expects the prices of complete LEDs to continue falling over the next few years.

Vendors to skimp on costs for notebooks

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 06:21 AM PDT

cashManufacturers in the Far East who make notebooks for branded companies and for the OEM market are planning to skimp on costs by using common components across different ranges of machines.

That's according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, which said common components will include heatsinks, chassis hinges and more importantly motherboards.

Several factors are influencing this trend.

Those include the cost of labour in mainland China and also the fact that there's a lack of demand for notebook PCs these days.

Motherboards were usually different because of the number of processors used for different sizes.

But that has led the wire, quoting industry sources, to suggest that the manufacturers will also standardise on similar processors for different models.

That is unlikely to please chip giant Intel, which relies on a range of differently priced microprocessors being used in different machines.

iPhone 6S Plus costs Apple more

Posted: 30 Sep 2015 06:16 AM PDT

Old Apple logo - Wikimedia CommonsAnalysts at IHS have taken apart the iPhone 6S Plus that was introduced last week and finds that Apple is paying more for the components in the device.

The bill of materials (BOM) for an iPhone 6S Plus with 16GB of NAND flash memory comes to $231.50.

That still leaves Apple making a very healthy profit on the smartphone because, IHS said, the unsubsidised price for this phone is a staggering $749.

Apple has included 3D touch and a Taptic engine to improve the device and encourage people to upgrade or to buy a new phone.

IHS said the new phones are stronger, including a harder aluminium case, and an upgrade to its cover glass.

Apple also uses a faster microprocessor in the phone – the A9 – which the company claims gives 70 percent faster CPU performance.

The Taptic Engine uses a vibrating magnet to give a vibration or tapping sensation when the device is touched.

The new phones also have an improved wireless modem and better wi-fi.

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