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State Sponsored Malware Sucks

The good folks over at Kaspersky Lab have just found another malware strain that is likely produced and paid for by the governemnt. This nasty bit of code affects MikroTik routers and is called "Slingshot". It spies on PCs through a multi-layered attack that is pretty complex in the exectution. The guys over at Kaspersky call the two-pronged attack a "masterpiece" in a very bad way for the user. Congratulations, your government hates you and wants to render you useless to protect yourself against attacks, both cyber and physical.

The combination of this sophistication with the spying focus led Kaspersky to believe that it's likely the creation of a state agency -- it rivals the Regin malware GCHQ used to spy on Belgian carrier Belgacom. And while text clues hint that English speakers might be responsible, the culprit isn't clear. Just shy of 100 individuals, government outfits and institutions fell prey to Slingshot in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Libya and Turkey.

Source: Engadget

Fortnight Battle Royale Supports Mobile, PC & PS4 Cross-play

If you enjoy Epic Games' Fortnight on the PC or on the PS4, you may be happy to note that it is coming to iOS and Android in the near future. What's even more interesting than having yet another game draining the battery on your mobile device is that the game will support cross-platform play. That's right, if you have Android or iOS, you'll be able to play head-to-head against players on PC and PS4 systems as well. That is really good for the PC crowd as they will be able to do even better against this odd match-up.

But, the announcement also came with another surprise, with Epic Games announcing a partnership with Sony to introduce official cross-play and cross-progression support between "PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS and eventually Android." Although cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has occurred accidentally in the past, this official implementation curiously doesn't include the Microsoft console, perhaps due to Sony's reluctance.

Source: Neowin

Geek Squad working with FBI

Best Buy's Geek Squad is coming under fire for working with the FBI to tip them off when customers have things on their computer they shouldn't have. Catching 'bad guys' is of course the rationale for them working with the FBI, however, there are some privacy issues that are being raised as undoubtedly many peoples privacy was invaded. This one could turn into a big deal for Best Buy when it comes to asking customers to trust them with their computers that they are fixing.

Engadget has more on this story.

When the defense in a California doctor's child pornography case accused the FBI of paying Geek Squad's crew to look for evidence in the defendant's computer, Best Buy denied it enjoys close ties with the agency. Now, according to the EFF, the big-box retailer's team of IT technicians are even closer to the feds than previous reports indicated. The non-profit has received the results to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) it filed last year and found that Best Buy has been enjoying "a particularly close relationship with the agency" over the past 10 years, at least.

 

Android beats iOS in smartphone loyalty

According to a new report, Android users are more loyal than their iOS counterparts. Both smartphones have a loyal following with Android having a 91% loyalty rate and iOS trailing with a still impressive 86%. TechCrunch has the story.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 may not quite live up to the iPhone X when it comes to Samsung’s implementation of a Face ID-style system or its odd take on AR emoji. But that’s not going to matter much to Samsung device owners — not only because the S9 is a good smartphone overall, but because Android  users just aren’t switching to iPhone anymore. In fact, Android users have higher loyalty than iOS users do, according to a new report today from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

Weekly Tech Update #427 - Dell Jumps on the Ryzen Bandwagon

We have just posted up Episode #427 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing BlackBerry sues everyone, Dell jumps on the Ryzen mobile bandwagon and if you can't steal Bitcoins, steal the computers used to mine them. We have those stories and more...

WTU

 

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GPD Pocket Unboxing - A Tiny Windows 10 Laptop

The GPD Pocket is pretty nifty - in theory. It's a small little machine that is quite powerful and has a solid overall fit and finish. During the unboxing, they are impressed with the fit and feel of the keyboard, although it is a little cramped. When folded up, it's a small 7.17 x 4.29 x 0.78 inches. 

 

Source: Neowin

How to Block Spam Calls on your Mobile

Spam calls to mobile devices have been ramping us as these numbers change and many of them are not on the "do not call" list. There are ways to help prevent, block and get some relief from the onslaught. My particular carrier offers free anti-spam protection on their devices and it works great. If you don't have something like this available, you should check out the guide over here. It's good stuff that will save you time, energy and frustration.

Robocalls have become so infuriating that the Federal Trade Commission received over 375,000 complaints about them every month last year. The agency routinely says it’s doing its best to get a handle on the situation, and yes, there are occasionally significant crackdowns. But real-world feedback indicates that things are getting worse — not better — and it’s starting to feel a little out of control.

Source: TheVerge

Dell Releases Fresh Batch of AMD-Powered Laptops

My latest laptop is packing some Ryzen goodness, and it seems that Dell is on board with AMD processors as well. I've got to hand it to Dell, because they actually try some different things. They are one of the few companies that have Linux machines available to buy online and now they are packing a bunch of new Inspiron machines with AMD. They aren't high-end machines, but it's a start.

With the Ryzen 3 and 5 series chips inside (and more specifically, the 2200u and 2500u processors), depending on how much you pay, supported by up to 32GB of user-upgradeable RAM, Dell wants you to think these machines offer great bang for your buck.

Source: Neowin

600 Bitcoin Mining Machines Stolen

If you don't have the knowledge on how to steal Bitcoin virtually, you can always steal a huge bunch of hardware dedicated to mining said coins. That's what a group of people have pulled off in Iceland. They've stolen a total of 600 machines that include pretty sweet graphics cards and solid processors. The Icelandic police are sitting back and watching power meters. If they are plugged in, some landlords electricity bill is going through the roof. Also, there will be a warm spot visible from space.

The thefts, which occured between late December and early January, were reportedly captured on surveillance cameras by Advania, the server company hit by two of the three thefts. (The graphics cards, processors and so on were allegedly stolen from a home.) Advania had been offering its customers access to bitcoin-mining rigs, and it sounds like those were the type that were stolen. The Associated Press reports that the stolen computers are worth nearly $2 million.

Source: CNET

Weekly Tech Update #426 - iCloud is Rebranded Google Drive

We have just posted up Episode #426 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing Apple confirms it uses Google's Cloud, 46% of cryptocurrency failed last year as well as smartphone news from Mobile World Congress. We have those stories and more...

WTU

 

Download Episode #426
Show Notes
Subscribe to the feed.
Subscribe in iTunes!
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