Windows Saw Over 2.3 Million Infections, 13 Ransomware Families in Q2 2017: Quick Heal

Over 2.3 million infections and 13 families of ransomware were detected on Windows in the second quarter of 2017, a new report revealed on Wednesday.

According to Quick Heal Technologies, malware detections saw a drop of 23 percent but continued to emerge over 1,700 times every minute.

“Although malware detections on Windows and Android saw a decline compared to last quarter, ransomware attacks have increased. This trend proves that cyber criminals are working on attacks that require fewer resources but at the same time give higher returns,” said Sanjay Katkar, Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal.

The report predicted that there was an increased likelihood of massive attacks like WannaCry due to individual users and businesses failing to keep their systems patched and up-to-date.

Also, ransomware attacks might increase on health care organisations and newer, destructive and more advanced variants of the Wannacry and Petya are expected to surface.

Apart from WannaCry and Petya, other active ransomware families which emerged in the second quarter included ‘Jaff’, ‘Crisis’, ‘Cry128/Cry9,’ among others.

“With the advent of ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petya, attackers are now shifting their attention towards attacks that make them more money and in an easier way as ransomware campaigns have higher returns compared with data stealing and other malicious campaigns,” the report noted.

Windows Saw Over 2.3 Million Infections, 13 Ransomware Families in Q2 2017: Quick HealIt was also discovered that Trojans continued to rise with 37 percent detections followed by Infectors, Worms and Adware and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA).

The report further noted that scammers were distributing fake apps, labelling them with popular keywords to trick users into downloading them.

“These apps are mostly developed by novices are not coded properly which leaves security vulnerabilities in them. These ‘weak’ apps are then used by seasoned attackers to target mobile users,” the report warned.

The report predicted that faked applications are expected to increase in volume not only in third-party app stores but Google Play as well.

Good Governance Made Easier By Board Portals

As the compliance regulations evolve and change for credit unions, it’s important that boards of directors have the time and resources they need to learn about new regulations and to monitor compliance and risk according to them. But when they’re bogged down in minutes, chasing down reports, and just struggling to get on the same page, it can be difficult for a board to effectively monitor compliance. That’s why board portals were designed to create a better workflow at the board level.

Good governance depends on effective risk management, rigorous performance evaluation, and compliance. A board of directors cannot deliver good governance if it depends too much on the CEO, a role that it’s responsible for hiring, for technical expertise.

Board portal vendor Aprio put together a six-step guide to good governance practices and how board portal software can help you get there. The steps include centralized, digital access to board materials, simultaneous document updates, online voting, digital survey tools, archiving and available audits, and data security. Follow their blog for more news on governance best practices, a topic that’s always evolving and always critical for organizations invested in good governance to follow.

A board portal can become an organizations’ most useful tool for promoting good governance as it makes transparency easier to achieve and enables directors to better manage their time in meetings. For example, a board portal should allow directors to access materials online or offline, wherever they are. Tablets are the ideal device for using board portals and you should always ask about OS compatibility before booking a demo. Windows, Android, and iOS (Apple) are the three most commonly used tablet formats and all are compatible with Aprio software, for example. Instant updates also mean that all directors receive the same information; a common complaint among directors is that they aren’t provided the same information as their peers, especially when special requests are made.

A board portal can also make it easy to manage the distribution of information when conflicts of interest are involved, or when materials need to be shared regarding In Camera sessions. The Corporate Secretary creates groups, making materials accessible only to those who need to see the documents for a specific meeting. A director with a conflict, for example, can be excluded from seeing those documents; the Corporate Secretary can even designate the Chairperson as a sub-secretary to act as administrator for an In Camera session.

When they were initially making the move toward paperless, many organizations opted to distribute materials via email or a free file sharing service. Since then, secure and effective board portals have come down in price, while the security weaknesses of email and free file sharing have become painfully clear. Your confidential documents simply aren’t safely distributed via email or Dropbox, where they can easily be targeted by cybercriminals or even accidentally discovered on a director’s device. Invest in a board portal and make sure that your organization’s documents stay out of view of prying eyes.

Google’s latest project lets you play piano alongside an AI

Whether its testing social scenarios or operating a billionaire’s abode , it seems we’ve only just scratched the surface of what artificial intelligence can do.

With that in mind, Google’s latest trick in machine learning is not quite yet out of a science fiction novel, but certainly something intriguing: an AI that adds accompaniment to your piano playing.

Built on artificial neural networks more than old-fashioned programming, Google coder/musician Yotam Mann unveiled his open-source “AI Duet” late last year, according to VentureBeat .

Now, the piano-inclined bot is playable on both desktop and mobile browsers , allowing just about anyone to try their hand at tickling the digital ivories with AI backup using only a keyboard or touchscreen.

 

Whenever a user plays a little ditty on the AI Duet’s piano, the program plays back a response with its own spin on it.

This ability is bolstered by an open-source library of audio created by Mann andMagenta – a Google-powered machine learning infrastructure designed with art and music in mind.

While interpreting and embellishing musical notes is humanizing to say the least, AI Duet isn’t the only Google-backed neural network project that loves the arts. The Big G has reportedly used romance novels to teach its AI more natural conversation skills.

Alphabet earnings surge on mobile, YouTube

Alphabet reported significantly higher revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 on the back of increased mobile and YouTube video advertising.

Revenue in the last three months of the year jumped 22 percent from a year earlier, reaching $26.1 billion, while net income rose 8 percent to $5.3 billion.150817 google headquarters 2

“2016 was simply a great year for us,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google, in a conference call with analysts.

The vast majority of the quarter’s revenue, $22.4 billion, came from Google’s advertising business, with $3.4 billion coming from other business segments such as hardware sales, the Google Play Store and Google’s Cloud services.

Google’s so-called “other bets,” the fancy and fantastical projects such as self-driving cars, Google Fiber and internet from drones, contributed $262 million, up 75 percent. The other bets division curbed losses at $1.1 billion, slightly smaller the $1.2 billion it lost in the last three months of 2015.

But despite the strong results, Wall Street was expecting better for the quarter. It had been hoping for earnings of about $9.67 per share, so the actual $9.36 per share was lower than expected.

“2016 was a great year for Google, and 2017 is shaping up to be even more exciting,” said Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, on the conference call.

Pichai said 2016 stood out as the year artificial intelligence became central to Google’s mission as a company. AI, which includes machine learning, has been used in services like Google Photos for a while, and in 2016 it expanded greatly with services like the Google Assistant.

The Google Assistant allows users to make voice queries of Google.

“It’s off to a great start,” said Pichai.

He said he was happy with Google’s “big bets” on three technologies: YouTube is booming thanks to a focus on key content providers, Cloud is on a “terrific upswing” and more than 3 million companies are now paying for GSuite services, and Pichai said he was thrilled with the reception of the Pixel smartphone and Google Home device.

Intel Unveils Atom Processor E3900, A3900 Series for IoT Devices and Cars

Intel Unveils Atom Processor E3900, A3900 Series for IoT Devices and Cars

  • Intel has announced two new Atom SoCs – E3900 & A3900
  • The E3900 SoCs will power Internet of Things devices
  • The A3900 SoCs will power in-vehicle infotainment and more

Intel on Tuesday launched two processors in its new Atom 3900 lineup – the E3900 and A3900. The former is meant for IoT applications and wearables, while the latter is meant for smart auto apps. Intel is pushing hard to grab the connected device market by launching next generation Atom SoC that are ‘exceptionally capable of delivering on performance, processing and scalability’.

Intel’s Atom processor E3900 series will particularly focus on decentralised computing infrastructure on multiple applications and devices, also known as fog computing. The chip series is powered by quad-core processors clocked at up to 2.5GHz. The E3900 SoC series also features Intel’s 9th generation graphics engine that is said to have a 2.9 times better than the previous generation, and supports as many as three independent display screens. The E3900 series has four vector image processing units, that are claimed to provide better visibility, quality video in low light, noise reduction, colour, and detailed maintenance.

The E3900 processor series also comes with Intel’s Time Coordinated Computing Technology that coordinates and synchronises peripherals and networks inside the system on a chip (SoC) of connected devices. Intel says that ‘E3900 series is a significant step toward building a more robust IoT ecosystem.’The A3900 processor series is aimed to power the next-generation of in-vehicle experiences. Intel says SoC will enable a complete software defined cockpit solution that includes in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), digital instrument clusters, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The A3900 series will allow car manufacturers to employ new technologies packed in Intel’s new SoC. Intel’s A3900 series will be available only after Q1 2017 to customers.

Apart from the new SoCs, Intel is progressing further to tie up with more manufactures, OEM partners and software makers like Delphi, Hikvision, FAW, Neusoft among others. Intel recently acquired Movidius in a close to $400 million deal to boost its computer vision division. Intel has been seeing a decline in its PC sales, and hence, the company has been looking for success in other domains, such as cloud computing, data centres, IoT devices, and more.

LeEco Diwali Sale Includes Cashbacks on 4K Televisions and Smartphones

LeEco Diwali Sale Includes Cashbacks on 4K Televisions and Smartphones

  • LeEco Diwali sale is from October 26 to October 30
  • LeEco is offering Rs. 3,000 discount on its 4K televisions
  • The sale will be hosted on LeMall and Flipkart as well

LeEco has announced its second Diwali sale that is slated to commence from October 26 and will end on October 30. Like its previous Diwali sale, the Chinese company is offering buyers discounts on its online store LeMall and on Flipkart. The LeEco Diwali sale will include LeEco’s LED televisions and smartphones.

Under the Diwali sale offer, LeEco is giving discounts on itsLeMall store for the purchase of its 4K televisions ‘SuperTVs’ – Super3 X55 TV and Max65 TV. LeEco has been offering its SuperTVs on flash-sale model but this time the company is offering a cashback of Rs. 3,000 for all the purchases made via debit and credit cards. Additionally, LeEco is giving an extended warranty of 4 years on television panels.

The buyers who choose Flipkart to buy the 4K televisions will get a cashback of Rs. 3,000 if they are using Citibank debit and credit cards, but the offer is only limited from October 26 to October 28. If you’re using American Express cards, then the offer dates are valid from October 29 to October 30. There is also a no-cost EMI for 3 or 6 months for buyers who are willing to use Bajaj Finserv cards and all other credit cards on Flipkart.

LeEco is also offering exchange offers on Flipkart where users can also exchange their old TVs for up to Rs. 25,000 when buying their new LeEco SuperTVs. The company’s PREXO (Product Exchange Offer) allows buyers will get a raised amount in their exchange price during product evaluation of their old products. LeEco’s online store LeMall and Flipkart will also get you 2 years of free LeEco membership that includes a variety of its ‘Supertainment’ content like movies, music, etc.Apart from the televisions, LeEco is offering an additional Rs. 1,500 when exchanging an old phone for the Le 2 on Flipkart. The offers are valid only on Flipkart’s currently running Diwali Sale from October 25 to October 28. Citibank card (both credit and debit) users can avail an additional cashback of 15 percent on the LeEco Le 2.

LeMall is giving a cashback of 10 percent on the LeEco Le 2 on purchases made via any debit or credit card. LeEco is also offering a free 1-year LeEco membership worth Rs. 4,900, along with Reliance JioWelcome offer that will obviously include unlimited 4G LTE data, voice calling, and SMS.

The Chinese conglomerate had recently launched its services and products in the US with its new devices Le Pro 3, Le S3, its self-driving electric car LeSee and other gadgets as well.

AMD Reaches Deal With Alibaba to Use Chips in Cloud Service

AMD Reaches Deal With Alibaba to Use Chips in Cloud Service

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., struggling to re-establish its data centre chip business, said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to provide cloud-computing services based on its graphics semiconductors.

China’s largest e-commerce company is working on expanding the range of services it offers over the internet and will work with Advanced Micro Devices to use the chipmaker’s Radeon Pro graphics, the companies said Friday in a statement.

For AMD, which is the second-largest maker of graphics chips used in high-end computers behindNvidia Corp., the deal is the chance to kick start a return to the lucrative data centre market dominated by Intel Corp. Graphics chips are playing an increasing role in data centres where their ability to process information in parallel makes them useful in certain work loads such as image recognition.

Nvidia has pioneered this more general use of the chips, which had mainly been used by computer gamers to get a more realistic experience from their hardware. AMD, based in Sunnyvale, California, has begun its fight back from market share losses to Nvidia in graphics and Intel in general purpose processors with new products that have closed the gap in performance.

AMD’s stock has more than doubled this year, making it the best performer on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index, spurred by improving sales and progress in its attempt to return to profitability.

 

Internet Radio – The new generation and appealing marketing tool

In spite of having small audience, online radio ads have a special demand to the marketers. With introduction of online radios such as Pandora, DX etc. a particular group of radio listeners has inclined towards this media – be it for news updates or listening to their favorite music. And the number is growing due to the consumers’ listening trend. Audience embrace online radio on differing devices such as PC, smartphone, tablets and even connected home appliances.
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Though a small player in the digital advertising ecosystem, the growth forecasts for radio websites are still highly positive. They are more modest if compared to other genres of digital ad spending and this is primarily the main feature that attracts marketers to put their money into it. Marketers are getting interested to hook their brands to online broadcasting and other music-streaming features. There are various reasons behind their eagerness and some of them are,

  • Willingness to associate a brand with a specific artist or genre – the extent to which online radio is driven mainly by ads
  • Wiliness of in-steam audio ads that are quite difficult to avoid in comparison to other versions of digital advertising

Expansion of Internet radio listeners since 2013 has been increasing steadily and is likely to be expanded even more in coming years. With the expansion, the landscape of revenue generation models is also changing very fast. There are different services which offer ad-sponsored subscriptions, free, ad-free access for a monthly or annual fee and subscription-only services.

But still most of the funds that fuel up the online radio industry come from advertising while a small percentage stems from subscription fees.

Online radio is a digital ad platform as according to Radio Advertising Bureau, revenue generated from the radio websites are done from tile ads, banner ads, Internet streaming, pop-up ads, ecommerce, dedicated streaming ads, text and email messages, and local and national online-affiliate relationships.

But, even with the growth of Internet radio as forecasted there is always a chance that streaming services face a significant financial challenge. Licensing costs for services such as Spotify and Pandora is quite high and may rise further as laws expire and agreements come up for renewal. Moreover, the scope of ad inventory in this field is limited. While subscribers don’t see ads at all users who choose free or ad-supported tiers usually don’t like heavy ad loads. And these are the alarming issues that may lead the industry to face monetization difficulties.

However, there is always a solution to every problem and online radio industry is no different. The industry can surely overcome such obstacles. All it needs to focus on growing their listeners, diversifying into new avenues and implementing fresh ways to work with the advertisers. And to do this, it needs to address a few questions like,

  • How many listeners are using Internet radio and how do they use it?
  • Who are the key audience and what are the revenue metrics of the main services?
  • Why do marketers prefer Internet radio in spite of its limited size?

If the industry can resolve their issues especially financial ones suitably, the audience population will definitely turns the marketers’ heads in due course.

Chrome, Firefox Blocking The Pirate Bay Again; Google Safe Browsing Labels It ‘Partially Dangerous’

Chrome, Firefox Blocking The Pirate Bay Again; Google Safe Browsing Labels It 'Partially Dangerous'Google’s malicious site database, Google Safe Browsing, has listed The Pirate Bay as a “partially dangerous” and a “phishing website” website again. Because of this, millions of Chrome and Firefox users are unable to browse through the website freely, and come across a pop-up warning from Google every time they try to download a file.

Firefox, which also takes advantage of the Google Safe Browsing service, is showing this warning every time a user tries to download something from thepiratebay.org. The message reads, “Deceptive site ahead: Attackers on Thepiratebay.org may trick you into doing something dangerous like installing software or revealing your personal information.”

The warning claims Google Safe Browsing recently detected phishing on the thepiratebay.org, and that sites like this have malicious entities may try to steal personal information of visitors. This warning doesn’t show up on the Home Page or the other internal pages, but pops-up every time someone tries to download a torrent file. This happened last month as well, and the warning disappeared eventually after some days.
The Pirate Bay told TorrentFreak that it was aware about the issue, and hope that it gets resolved soon. The publication speculates that this warning could be due to a malicious advertisement on the site.

The Google Safe Browsing is a database used by Chrome, Firefox, and even Safari as a checklist for all malicious sites in the Internet vortex. It blocks websites that contain malware and conduct phishing activities. It came into existence in 2007, and has been actively updated ever since. The Safe Browsing database was first only available on desktop, but Google last year introduced it first in Android for Chrome users. Google also announced an API for Android apps to take.

YouTube Offensiveness Offensive Offends Users. YouTube Disables Comments

YouTube Offensiveness Offensive Offends Users. YouTube Disables Comments
‘YouTube Heroes’ video had garnered 1,015,700 views by Friday morning
The video garnered an overwhelming “thumbs down” (342,033 of them)
Some suggested it was a “snitch” rewards program
The Internet, as everyone knows, is riddled with racist, sexist, sadist ranters, not to mention trolls, stalkers, savage bullies and inciters of mayhem, from sextortion to child pornography to terrorism. A whole industry now exists of “moderators,” thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of them, paid to patrol sites like Facebook and Twitter, along with news sites like The Washington Post and New York Times, weeding out offensive posts and comments.

YouTube, among others, has tried a variety of tactics, including real-name requirements using Google (Plus), designed to subdue the beast, “flagging” by users to alert its moderators to content for possible removal and an elite corps of “Trusted Flaggers,” which the Google-owned company says “gives users access to more advanced flagging tools as well as periodic feedback, making flagging more effective and efficient.”

All this to modest avail, despite the fact that, as YouTube reports, “over 90 million people have flagged videos on YouTube since 2006 – that’s more than the population of Egypt – and over a third of these people have flagged more than one video.”

So on Thursday it proposed something new, “YouTube Heroes,” essentially a gaming effort to entice users into, among other things, “mass flagging” of offensive content, which would then be reviewed by professionals and if warranted, removed. Here’s how it’s supposed to work, according to YouTube blog post:

“YouTube Heroes will have access to a dedicated YouTube Heroes community site that is separate from the main YouTube site, where participants can learn from one another. Through the program, participants will be able to earn points and unlock rewards to help them reach the next level. For example, Level 2 Heroes get access to training through exclusive workshops and Hero hangouts, while Level 3 Heroes who have demonstrated their proficiency will be able to flag multiple videos at a time (something Trusted Flaggers can already do) and help moderate content strictly within the YouTube Heroes Community site.”

YouTube explained the Heroes program with a little video, below.

By early Friday morning, it had garnered 1,015,700 views.

It had also garnered an overwhelming “thumbs down” (342,033 of them) versus “thumbs up” (5,500).

At some point, the comments must have grown so hostile that they were disabled. An email to YouTube’s press office yielded no immediate response.
But the reaction among YouTube users on Twitter, along with a bunch of parodies posted on YouTube and elsewhere provides a (moderated) glimpse of the reaction. Some suggested it was a “snitch” rewards program. Others said it would encourage YouTube vigilantism.

And still others saw YouTube Heroes as a way of having users do the work the company ought to be paying for.

“As someone who’s had vids falsely reported because angry mobs were angry at them, #YouTubeHeroes seems like an idea that can go bad quick,” tweeted Jim Sterling.

“So if I have this right,” tweeted someone going under the name of ToddInTheShadows, “YouTube Heroes is more accurately YouTube Vigilante Mobs?”

Twitter and YouTube itself were swamped with new videos ridiculing the idea.

Apart from the merits of the idea, some suggested that YouTube’s way of introducing it left too much to the fertile imagination of some users and perhaps the pecuniary aspirations of others. Some YouTubers make good money from sponsorships of their videos.

“This is a huge undertaking that you tried to explain in a minute-thirty with a nice little video,” Dan Speerin, a YouTube creator and vice-president of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada (IWCC), told the CBC. “We need more info.”

And in fairness, there’s kind of an iron law under which no regular user ever likes anything new introduced by the likes of Google, Facebook or Twitter.

“We don’t know if an online community of unpaid volunteers will help rid YouTube of some of its nastier trolls, but other sites also encourage users to self-police,” wrote Gordon Gottsegen at CNET, noting that Reddit employs a similar method, “allowing some members to moderate forums and even ban other users if need be. At the very least, YouTube is acknowledging it has a problem with negative comments and inappropriate videos. Let’s hope the program starts making a difference quick.”