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Updated: 32 min 26 sec ago

German court upholds WhatsApp-Facebook data transfer ban

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 15:29

Facebook must obtain the permission of German users of WhatsApp before processing their personal data, a German court confirmed on Tuesday.

Last August, Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp changed its privacy policy to allow the transfer of its users' personal information to Facebook for processing. That angered the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, which in September ordered the companies to stop the transfer until they had obtained users' consent, and to delete any data they had already transferred.

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FCC chairman plans to 'reverse the mistake' of net neutrality

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 15:19

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote on May 18 to kick off a proceeding to “reverse the mistake” of the agency’s 2-year-old net neutrality rules, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

The rulemaking proceeding would be the first step toward repealing the regulations and reversing the agency’s 2015 decision to classify broadband as a regulated, telecom-like service.

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Pai didn’t provide a lot of detail about his proposal during a speech Wednesday, but during the rulemaking, the FCC will seek public comment on how best to move forward with new net neutrality rules or guidelines, he said. The FCC is scheduled to release the text of Pai’s proposal on Thursday.

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McAfee: Wave of Shamoon cyberattacks being coordinated by a single group

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:19

The waves of cyberattacks that have rocked Saudi Arabia over the past few months are linked to the earlier Shamoon attacks. However, the initial 2012 attack was the work of a single group, whereas the latest attacks have been carried out by different groups of varying skills and expertise, all following instructions provided by one malicious actor, McAfee researchers have found.

Researchers at McAfee Strategic Intelligence believe the 2012 Shamoon attacks against Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company Saudi Aramco and Qatari natural gas company RasGas, the attacks last November against Saudi organizations, and these latest attacks are all the work of hacker groups supported and coordinated by a single actor, and not the efforts of multiple gangs operating independently, said McAfee principal engineer Christiaan Beek and McAfee chief scientist Raj Samani. 

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Microsoft cuts off 40 percent of Windows phones with Creators Update shift

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:50

Our review of the Creators Update for Windows 10 Mobile may have shown it to be a half-hearted update at best, but a substantial portion of Microsoft's base of installed phones won't even have a chance to experience it.

A report by AdDuplex, an ad network running on top of Windows devices, found that four of the top 10 Windows phones won't be allowed to upgrade to Microsoft's latest feature update. That works out to about 40 percent of all Windows phones already in the hands of users.

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Only 6 out of the top 10 best-selling phones are eligible for the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update, AdDuplex found.

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Old Windows Server machines can still fend off hacks. Here's how

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 07:04

If you're running a Windows Server 2003 machine, you have a problem. Your already-vulnerable computer is now at severe risk of being hacked.

That's due to the internet release earlier this month of a batch of updates that paint a bulls-eye on computers running Windows Server 2003, according to security researchers.

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“I can teach my mom how to use some of these exploits,” said Jake Williams, founder of Rendition Infosec, a security provider. “They are not very complicated at all.”

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Linkerd 1.0 helps cloud services communicate

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 06:00

Linkerd, providing an enterprise-level open source service mesh for cloud-native applications, has moved to a 1.0 release.

Offered by cloud software provider Buoyant, the mesh adds service discovery, load balancing, failure handling, instrumentation, and routing to all interservice communication.

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Bouyant describes a service mesh as a dedicated infrastructure layer for safe, fast, and reliable service-to-service communication, sitting as a layer of abstraction above TCP/IP. It's responsible for delivering requests through a complex topology of services in a cloud-native application, said William Morgan of Buoyant.

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3D NAND to make up half of all flash memory production

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 18:56

3D NAND, which stacks layer upon layer of flash cells atop one another like a microscopic skyscraper, will become the prominent technology for all flash memory this year, according to a new report.

According to DRAMeXchange's latest forecast, NAND flash manufacturers have focused their efforts on converting fabrication plants to 3D NAND, which is denser, faster and less expensive to produce than traditional 2D (planar) NAND.

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BiCS (Bit Cost Scaling) is the vertical stacking or 3D technology that WD and partner Toshiba use to produce solid state drives and other NAND flash products. Their latest memory stores three bits of data per cell and stacks those cells 64-layers high.

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Cisco Jasper package manages everything enterprise mobile

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 18:51

Cisco today announced an enterprise management package designed to help users monitor and control the data usage operation of the tons of mobile devices in their networks.

Cisco Jasper’s Control Center for Mobile Enterprise is an extension of Jasper’s overarching Control Center IoT service platform, now directed at letting enterprise customers turn up services more quickly, and since it ultimately will be integrated directly into service provider networks will allow for real-time usage data, automated cost control and what Jasper calls “enterprise-grade self-serve management of mobile services and assets.”

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Like Control Center for IoT, Cisco Jasper’s Mobile Enterprise features are delivered through a service provider and in for now only Canadian telco Telus offers the plan. Cisco Jasper says others will soon follow, but a timetable remains open. The company has 50 service providers offering Control Center services worldwide.

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Box revises platform pricing to ease developer adoption

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 15:02

Box is trying to give developers who want to use its platform more pricing consistency with a new  announced Tuesday.

Customers will now pay on the basis of how much active use they're getting out of the Box Platform, which offers cloud storage and content management capabilities for third-party applications. Companies can purchase packages from Box that include a set number of active users, API calls, bandwidth, and storage use.

[ The cloud storage security gap — and how to close it. | 5 ways Microsoft has improved SharePoint security. ]

The first package costs $500 per month and includes 100 monthly active users, 175,000 Box API calls, 125GB of bandwidth, and 125GB of storage in Box's cloud. The more packages companies purchase, the less they have to pay per package. For developers just getting started with the platform, there's a free tier that allows 10 monthly active users, 15,000 API calls, 10GB of bandwidth, and 10GB of storage.

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FCC chairman to announce plans to repeal net neutrality

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:21

The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce plans to repeal the agency's 2015 net neutrality rules on Wednesday.

Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, will likely announce a plan to reverse course on the 2-year-old regulations and end the agency's classification of broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service. In a Wednesday speech, Pai will reportedly announce that he is scheduling a vote for the FCC's May 18 meeting to begin the process of repealing the rules.

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Pai has called the net neutrality rules a mistake that "injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market." President Donald Trump, who appointed Pai as the FCC's chairman, has also criticized the regulations.

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Webroot deletes Windows files and causes serious problems for users

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:47

Users of Webroot's endpoint security product, consumers and businesses alike, had a nasty surprise Monday when the program started flagging Windows files as malicious.

The reports quickly popped up on Twitter and continued on the Webroot community forum -- 14 pages and counting. The company came up with a manual fix to address the issue, but many users still had problems recovering their affected systems.

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The problem is what's known in the antivirus industry as a "false positive" -- a case where a clean file is flagged as malicious and is blocked or deleted. False positive incidents can range in impact from merely annoying -- for example, when a program cannot run anymore -- to crippling, where the OS itself is affected and no longer boots.

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Oracle plans ‘startup organization’ focused on cloud computing, AI, and VR

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 07:07

Oracle is hiring people for a "new startup organization" inside its North America operation that will focus on key technology trends, including cloud computing, internet of things, artificial Intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality.

The Solution Engineering organization the company is setting up will consist of Solution Engineering Centers in Reston, Va., and Denver.

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The database and enterprise software company has previously indicated its interest in investing in some of these technology areas like machine learning and analytics.

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Rooby language unites Go, Ruby

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 06:00

The Go and Ruby languages are partnered in the Rooby language intended for efficient development of microservices.

The object-oriented language has Ruby's syntax and is written in Go. It's for developing microservices that should be performant and easy to write. But the language does not constitute a Ruby upgrade. "Having full support of Ruby's [features] will be a huge effort and that would be a wrong way to go," according to the language's documentation.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Tap the power of Google's Go language. | The best Go language IDEs and editors. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld's App Dev Report newsletter. ]

Rooby's developers also say that the language "can't be syntactic sugar over Go because we are building an abstraction layer upon it, not forking Go and modifying its parser. So we certainly need to keep [improving] our implementation to make it as performant as possible." To make Rooby performant, plans call for building a server library using Go's net/http package. Rooby can be compiled into bytecode and evaluate bytecode directly. Currently, its parser is handcrafted and will have limitations.

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Read all about IT: CEOs see IT as more important than ever

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:37

As IT rises up the list of business priorities, CEOs are more likely to read about new technologies than they are to ask their CIOs for information.

That's one of the findings in a new survey by Gartner, in which 31 percent of business leaders questioned put IT among their top three priorities. It's the highest-ever ranking in the survey for IT, which was trumped only by profits and growth, cited by 58 percent.

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The 388 business leaders questioned -- mostly CEOs, with a smattering of CFOs and COOs -- are twice as likely to want to build up in-house IT capabilities (57 percent) as to outsource it (29 percent), which ought to be good news for CIOs.

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AMD's new Polaris-based Radeon Pro Duo is slower than its predecessor

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:26

AMD's new Radeon Pro Duo graphics packs two of the company's fastest GPUs, but surprisingly, is slower than its 2016 predecessor.

The Pro Duo, announced on Monday, is based on the Polaris architecture. It provides 11.45 teraflops of single-precision performance, which is a downgrade from the 16 teraflops of performance offered by last year's Pro Duo, based on the Fiji architecture.

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Performance usually goes up with each new GPU generation, but AMD opted to lower the power draw and the number of processing cores in the Pro Duo; as result, the product generates less heat. The Pro Duo draws 250 watts of power, compared to 350 watts by its predecessor.

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Russian man receives longest-ever prison sentence in the US for hacking

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:47

A 32-year-old Russian hacker was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the U.S. for stealing millions of payment card details from businesses by infecting their point-of-sale systems with malware.

The sentence is the longest ever handed out in the U.S. for computer crimes, surpassing the 20-year jail term imposed on American hacker and former U.S. Secret Service informant Albert Gonzalez in 2010 for similar credit card theft activities.

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Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, a Russian citizen from Vladivostok, was sentenced Friday in the Western District of Washington after he was found guilty in August of 10 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, nine counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, nine counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

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Seeing red: Samsung to offer software fix for tinted Galaxy S8 displays

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 10:32

Millions of people around the world are enjoying their first days with the Galaxy S8, marveling over the screen and rocking out with the new AKG-tuned earbuds. But not everyone is singing a happy tune. For some users, the infinity display isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, with some S8 screens showing a distinct red tint.

Reports of the red menace started cropping up almost as soon as S8s began landing in customer’s hands, but Samsung initially brushed them off, blaming the color woes on shoddy calibration. The company directed affected buyers to the Display tab in Settings, where they could use the Screen Mode menu to adjust the color range, saturation, and sharpness of the screen.

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Oracle floats Java hardware acceleration proposal

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 06:00

A proposal currently floating in the Java community would use hardware acceleration to improve bulk calculations in the platform.

Project Trinity would explore enhancing execution of bulk aggregate calculations over Streams by offloading calculations to hardware accelerators. Streams in Java allow developers to express calculations so that data parallelism can be efficiently exploited, and the Stream capability in Java Standard Edition 8 is for processing data declaratively while leveraging multicore architectures.

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"Such calculations are prime candidates for leveraging enhanced data-oriented instructions on CPUs, such as SIMD instructions or offloading to hardware accelerators, such as the SPARC Data Accelerator co-processor," said Karthik Ganesan, from Oracle's performance and applications engineering group, in his proposal made Friday in an email-based OpenJDK discussion forum.

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Researchers build a microprocessor from flexible materials

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:38

Researchers have built a primitive microprocessor out of a two-dimensional material similar to graphene, the flexible conductive wonder material that some believe will revolutionize the design and manufacture of batteries, sensors and chips.

With only 115 transistors, their processor isn't going to top any benchmark rankings, but it's "a first step towards the development of microprocessors based on 2D semiconductors," the researchers at Vienna University of Technology said in a paper published in the journal Nature this month.

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Microsoft fine-tunes WebAssembly for Edge browser

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 15:13

WebAssembly, the portable binary format for improving web application performance, is being tweaked by Microsoft for its Edge browser.

With the browser featured in the recent Windows 10 Creators Update, the Chakra JavaScript engine defers parsing WebAssembly functions until called; other engines parse functions at start time.

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"We've observed startup time as a major headache for large web apps and have rarely seen runtime performance being the issue from our experiences with existing WebAssembly and asm.js workloads," said Limin Zhu, program manager for the Chakra team at Microsoft, this week. "As a result, a WebAssembly app often loads noticeably faster in Microsoft Edge."

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