Huawei, Google supercharge Android with new Raspberry Pi-like board

Prepare to run Android at blazing fast speeds on a new Raspberry Pi-like computer developed by Huawei.

Huawei’s HiKey 960 computer board is priced at US$239 but has some of the latest CPU and GPU technologies. Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker all played roles in developing the board.

The HiKey 960 is meant to be a go-to PC for Android or a tool to develop software and drivers for the OS. The board development was backed by Linaro, an organization that develops software packages for the Android OS and ARM architecture.

Linaro CEO George Grey recently said it was sad that Android developers had to write code on x86 chips. He encouraged the organization’s members to build a superfast computer so developers could build ARM software on ARM architecture. Intel has scaled back Android support on x86 PCs and isn’t making smartphone chips.

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This is the closest thing Intel has built to a discrete GPU

Intel doesn’t make its own discrete GPU but has built something that specializes in processing 4K graphics. But that product isn’t powerful enough to run Crysis, if you were wondering.

The chipmaker showed off its Intel Visual Compute Accelerator 2 at the NAB show in Las Vegas this week. It has the build of a GPU but is designed for server applications and not for PCs.

The VCA 2 is aimed at cloud streaming 4K video, graphics, and virtual reality content. Servers with the graphics accelerator installed could be used to stream video or broadcast content.

The VCA 2 uses the 4K-capable Iris Pro Graphics P580 graphics chip and three Intel Xeon E3-1500 v5 processors. The P580 is also used in Intel’s mini-PC called Skull Canyon, which is designed for gaming.

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Google will try to combat fake news using search and user feedback

Google might not be as responsible for the spread of fake news as social media, but the search giant is still doing something about it: burying known sources of fake news, and letting users weigh in, too.

Google frequently tweaks the algorithms that return relevant search results, sometimes privately, and other times publicly. In this case, Google announced Tuesday that about 0.25 percent of all daily search results have been returning “offensive or clearly misleading content,” and those results will be pushed lower in search results in favor of more authoritative results.

Google is also implementing Feedback links for users to report on the accuracy of autocomplete search queries and Featured Snippet text.

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Startup claims 3D printers create metal parts faster, more cheaply

A two-year-old startup today unveiled two new 3D metal printing machines, one of which can create prototypes and the other production parts faster and cheaper than existing technology, the vendor says.

Desktop Metal, based in Burlington, Mass., demonstrated the Desktop Metal (DM) Studio System, which it calls an “office-friendly” metal 3D-printing system for rapid prototyping, and the DM Production, a manufacturing-class printer it claims is 100 times faster than today’s laser sintering machines.

The DM Studio System includes both a printer and microwave-enhanced sintering furnace that can produce metal 3D printed parts in an engineer’s office or on a shop floor. The company claims its DM Studio System is 10 times less expensive than existing metal prototyping technology.

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How your company needs to train workers in cybersecurity

With workplace cyberattacks on the rise, industry experts are pressing businesses to train their workers to be more vigilant than ever to protect passwords and sensitive data and to recognize threats.

“It is imperative for organizations of all sizes to instill among employees the critical role they play in keeping their workplace safe and secure,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, a group that promotes education on the safe and secure use of the internet. The group’s members include such major technology companies as Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft.

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FCC chairman to announce plans to repeal net neutrality

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.

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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FCC chairman to announce plans to repeal net neutrality

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.

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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UK Man Gets Two Years in Jail for Running ‘Titanium Stresser’ Attack-for-Hire Service

Mudd's TitaniumStresser service.

A 20-year-old man from the United Kingdom was sentenced to two years in prison today after admitting to operating and selling access to “Titanium Stresser,” a simple-to-use service that let paying customers launch crippling online attacks against Web sites and individual Internet users.

Adam Mudd of Herfordshire, U.K. admitted to three counts of computer misuse connected with his creating and operating the attack service, also known as a “stresser” or “booter” tool. Services like Titanium Stresser coordinate so-called “distributed denial-of-service” or DDoS attacks that hurl huge barrages of junk data at a site in a bid to make it crash or become otherwise unreachable to legitimate visitors.

Mudd’s TitaniumStresser service.

According to U.K. prosecutors, Mudd’s Titanium Stresser service was used by others in more than 1.7 million denial-of-service attacks against victims worldwide, with most countries in the world affected at some point. He originally built the booter service at the age of 15, earning more than $300,000 in ill-gotten gains from it. Also during his interviews, he admitted security breaches against his own college while he was there studying computer science.

Mudd pleaded guilty to three offences under the U.K. Computer Misuse Act and a further offense of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act in October 2016.

“Today, he was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for his own DDoS attacks, nine months for running a titanium stressor service and 24 months for money laundering the proceeds made from the stressor service, all to run concurrently,” reads a press release issued by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), an anti-cybercrime unit that worked with the U.K.’s National Crime Agency to investigate Mudd.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Peters of the ERSOU’s Regional Crime Unit recalled that at sentencing the judge said the defendant likely would have received six years if he’d been tried as an adult and if he had no medical issues. Mudd had been slated to be sentenced last week, but that hearing was delayed until today after the court heard medical testimony on Mudd’s apparent struggles with autism.

The Mudd case is the latest in a string of law enforcement actions in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere targeting booter service operators and their customers. In December 2016, federal investigators in the United States and Europe arrested nearly three-dozen people suspected of patronizing booter services. That crackdown was part of an effort by authorities to weaken demand for booter and stresser services and to impress upon customers that hiring someone to launch cyberattacks on your behalf can land you in jail.

In October 2016, the U.S. Justice Department charged two 19-year-old men alleged to have run booter services tied to the “Lizard Squad” hacking group. That same month the sprawling discussion forum Hackforums — once the most bustling marketplace on the Internet where people could compare and purchase booter and stresser service subscriptions — announced that it was permanently banning the sale and advertising of booters.

Last month, authorities in Israel said they were preparing a case against two 18-year-old Israeli men who investigators there say operated the wildly popular “vDOS” booter service. The proprietors of vDOS were in business for four years prior to being exposed by KrebsOnSecurity. During just two of those four years in operation vDOS made more than $600,000 helping paying customer coordinate hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of DDoS attacks.

The detail about Mudd having attacked the very same school he was attending as a computer science student seemed both interesting and familiar. Then I remembered: This same dynamic was at work with a young man approximately Mudd’s age who lives in New Jersey and recently was implicated by many of his close associates and a great deal of circumstantial evidence as a co-author of the Mirai botnet computer code.

Mirai is a network worm that enslaves poorly secured “Internet of Things” devices like security cameras and digital video recorders for use in extremely powerful DDoS attacks capable of knocking almost any target offline.

After Mirai took my site offline for several days last year, I spent many hours trying to figure out who was responsible for writing and unleashing the malware. All signs pointed to a computer science student at Rutgers University who used a large Mirai botnet to attack the university repeatedly — all the while using his hacker alter ego to taunt the university in online interviews.

The authorities in the U.K. say they are hoping to make an example of Mudd as part of a broader education effort to divert talented, smart kids away from malicious hacking and toward more productive endeavors.

“Adam Mudd’s case is a regrettable one, because this young man clearly has a lot of skill, but he has been utilising that talent for personal gain at the expense of others,” the ERSOU press release observes. “We want to make clear it is not our wish to unnecessarily criminalise young people, but want to harness those skills before they accelerate into crime. It is important that this case sends out a clear message to others who may be tempted by committing cybercrime or who are already engaging in cyber scams from the comfort of their own bedrooms, to consider what they are doing and it is for parents to know and understand what your children are doing online.”

Read more here:: KrebsOnSecurity

Respond to ransomware in three steps: secure, assess, recover

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Your help desk email and phones start lighting up. Your CIO is in your office looking stressed and staring at you. Quickly, you learn your company is the latest target of a ransomware attack.

Logically, you shouldn’t be in this position. The latest detection software and data protection tactics are commonplace at your organization, intending to keep you out of this mess. Also, you have followed all best practices to ensure maximum data availability, so it’s likely your backups and disaster recovery sites were impacted as well. At this point, all that matters is that your data has been kidnapped, and you need to restore operations as soon as possible.

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Webroot deletes Windows files and causes serious problems for users

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.

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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