Business travelers, rejoice! 4G LTE could be coming to the MacBook

According to two new patents recently granted to Apple, cellular connectivity could be coming to the MacBook. One patent was granted for “isolated cavity antennas” in the MacBook, while the other was for a standalone, battery-powered hotspot.

Both patents were granted on Tuesday, July 19, from the US Patents and Trademarks Office. And, while both could be a major upgrade for business travelers, or rural users, the embedded antenna seems to be the more unique of the two.

Basically, it would work by transmitting through “slots” that are created in the housing of the machine when it is open or closed. In addition to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi, it also could work with Bluetooth, wireless local area network bands, near-field communications (NFC), light-based wireless communications, satellite navigation system communications, 60 GHz communications, or “long-range communications bands such as cellular telephone bands.”

This particular patent was filed on June 8, 2015, but it’s not the first time Apple has considered additional connectivity for the MacBook. Apple was granted a similar patent back in May for an “electronic device with dual clutch barrel cavity antennas,” and the company briefly considered cellular connectivity for MacBooks back in 2007.

The patent for the mobile hotspot was originally filed on November 21, 2013, and it references a battery-powered device that exists solely to provide connectivity to other devices. While there are a host of images associated with the patent, most seem to allude to a cylindrical device that looks somewhat like a portable phone charger that houses a SIM card.

The abstract of the patent refers to the hotspot as “a compact device for providing Wi-Fi connectivity for an electronic device. The compact device is rotatably activated and includes interchangeable batteries and indicia indicating activation.”

Currently, the de facto method of many road warriors and frequent travelers who need connectivity is to tether to their smartphone to get online. While this works well most of the time, it isn’t always convenient, and can kill the battery on your phone. ZDNet’s Liam Tung pointed out that this device could alleviate the battery drain, and be ideal for campers or joggers.

Both of these patents are interesting and useful, but they are just that—patents. Apple hasn’t made any announcement about incorporating the technology into future products, and there is no telling when, or even if, they will make it to market.

The Data that Windows 10 Collects on you

Windows 10 is troubled and also surreptitiously gathers excessive data concerning what individuals do on their computer system.

 

Microsoft’s flagship OS breaches the French data security act, according to the country’s Chair of the National Data Defense Compensation (CNIL), which highlighted the “seriousness of the breaches”.

 

Microsoft has three months to alter how Windows 10 collects information regarding individuals in order to follow the act. If Windows 10 still does not comply then the company could be fined as much as EUR 150,000.

 

Windows 10 violates individual privacy in several areas, according to CNIL, which says the data the OS accumulates about customers is “too much”.

 

Windows 10 transfers customer information back to Microsoft by default, with customers of Home and also Pro versions only able to reduce data collection to the “Fundamental” level. On this setting, Windows 10 accumulates details regarding basic settings, quality-related details (such as crashes and hangs), as well as application compatibility.

 

Individuals of Enterprise, Education and learning, as well as IoT core versions are able to lower the information collection further, to exactly what Microsoft calls the “Basic” level.

 

Given Microsoft states that the information gathered at the “Basic” degree is the bare minimum essential to maintain Windows makers “shielded with the most up to date security updates”, the collection of any information over and yet is not required, the CNIL states in its formal notification.

 

” It is apparent that much of this data is not directly needed for the operating system to function,” it states.

 

” The majority of the information included in the basic degree are not crucial for the system to run so accumulating such information is too much with respect to this function.”

 

Windows 10 likewise breaches the act in how it links an advertising ID with each customer, the guard dog claimed. This distinct identifier enables a profile to be developed which applications are made use of as well as exactly how.

 

Microsoft does not “validly acquire individuals’ approval” for connecting them with this ID, CNIL claimed, as a result of the way the ID is triggered by default when the operating system is installed.

 

Windows 10 also downloads advertising cookies to users’ equipments without notifying them or seeking authorization, according to CNIL.

 

The authority additionally takes issue with exactly how Microsoft takes care of Windows 10 individual data, examining why it is being moved out of the EU under the regards to Safe Harbor, the data-sharing contract proclaimed “void” by the European Court of Justice in October.

 

Windows 10 does not ensure security

 

Beyond its data personal privacy failings, the CNIL also criticised Windows 10 for the inadequate protection of permitting Windows users to visit using a four-figure PIN.

 

Windows 10 users that have actually linked their Microsoft account with a Windows 10 machine could after that log right into that machine utilizing a PIN.

 

CNIL described this four-figure PIN as a “weak password” as well as said Windows did not lock the account after 20 efforts to presume the PIN– just needing a reboot after 5 unsuccessful efforts.

 

These failings mean Windows 10 does not guarantee the security of privacy of the data that can be accessed using the PIN on the user’s computer.

 

CNIL is also concerned that logging in using the PIN immediately verifies that gadget to connect to every one of the on-line solutions linked to the connected Microsoft account– providing access to email and details concerning “store purchases and also the repayment instruments and devices utilized”.

 

Dealing with CNIL’s issues, Microsoft VP as well as deputy general guidance David Heiner dedicated the firm to working with the authority over the following three months.

 

“We built strong privacy protections into Windows 10, and we welcome feedback as we continually work to enhance those protections. We will work closely with the CNIL over the next few months to understand the agency’s concerns fully and to work toward solutions that it will find acceptable,” he stated.

 

Heiner claimed Microsoft would additionally function towards carrying out transatlantic data transfers under the terms of the freshly agreed Personal privacy Guard agreement.

Apple rated highest for security on mobile devices

Mobile devices are almost universal in the enterprise in 2016. Tech Pro Research conducted a survey to see what devices employees are using for work, and how safe these devices are.

In new research conducted, 98% of respondents said they use mobile devices for work. Smartphones and laptops were the most common, with 94% of respondents who use mobile devices using them. 74% of mobile device users said they work with tablets. Wearables haven’t found a widespread usage base in the workplace, with only 14% reporting using them. When users rated the security of devices based on vendors, Apple got the best ratings in all categories.

For smartphones Apple’s high ratings could be partially attributed to familiarity since 67% of respondents said employees at their company use iPhones. Only Samsung was close to Apple in terms of prevalence, and the company was way behind Apple in security ratings.

Apple also had the largest share of tablet use, and the highest security rankings, among respondents. 53% said they and their colleagues use iPads and 46% of users ranked security as very good or excellent.

Dell was the most popular brand among respondents, in terms of use for work, but it got third place in security ratings.

Security on wearables appears to still be developing, based on the mediocre security ratings among all brands, and the fact that security feature usage isn’t the norm for wearables yet.

www.pcesolutions.ca

HummingBad Malware Infects 10 Million Android Devices

A new malware called HummingBad, associated with Chinese cyber criminals Yingmob, has infected millions of devices and brings in millions of dollars of fake ad revenue.

When it comes to malware, Android users can’t seem to catch a break. According to mobile threat researchers’ a recently-discovered Android malware called HummingBad has infected 10 million Android devices worldwide.

Yes, you read that correctly—10 million devices. But, that is just the beginning. Millions more devices could be at risk from HummingBad, or other malware created by the company behind it.

HummingBad was first discovered in February, and it “establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, generates fraudulent ad revenue, and installs additional fraudulent apps,” according to the report. Currently, it’s estimated to be generating $300,000 per month in fraudulent ad revenue.

The party behind HummingBad is a group Chinese cyber criminals known as Yingmob. The group has 25 employees across four different groups that maintain the components of HummingBad. Furthermore, they also provide legitimate advertising analytics products and share their tools and resources among their teams. Yingmob is also suspected to be behind the iOS malware called Yispecter.

While 10 million devices are affected by HummingBad at present, Yingmob has some degree of control over 85 million mobile devices in total. Only a quarter of those devices have some sort of malicious software installed on them, but Yingmob sells access to the devices and information about them to buyers.

China tops the list of most affected by the malware, with 1.6 million devices. India, with 1.35 million cases, comes in second place, respectively. The Philippines takes third place with 520,901 cases. There are 286,800 infected devices in the US.

In terms of affected OS versions, it breaks down like this:

  • KitKat – 50%
  • Jelly Bean – 40%
  • Lollipop – 7%
  • Ice Cream Sandwich – 2%
  • Marshmallow – 1%

HummingBad installs more than 50,000 fraudulent apps each day, and displays more than more than 20 million ads per day in these apps. IT admins should be wary because this put their organization’s data at risk.

“With these devices, a group can create a botnet, carry out targeted attacks on businesses or government agencies, and even sell the access to other cybercriminals on the black market,” the report said. “Any data on these devices is at risk, including enterprise data on those devices that serve dual personal and work purposes for end users.”

HummingBad uses a multi-stage attack chain with multiple components. If the initial rooting attempt fails, it makes use of a fake system update notification, to try and trick the user into granting permissions. The malware can install silently if the device is already rooted, so if your device is rooted you may already be in trouble. Also, remember to turn off “unknown sources” in your security settings to further protect yourself.

Malware has long been an issue in the Android ecosystem, but it has been ramping up in recent weeks.

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Five PowerPoint Alternatives

Unfortunately for many of us plying our trade in large enterprises, the presentation is something we often deride for being lackluster, all too familiar, and downright boring. That’s a shame for two reasons: First, because effective communication is vital to a successful enterprise, and second, because it doesn’t have to be that way.

Further complicating matters, enterprise structure is increasingly marked by a mobile and distant workforce, which can’t always be expected to physically attend a meeting where a presentation is on the agenda. The tools used to create and display a presentation must be able to cope with and adapt to this mobile environment.

Here is a list of five presentation apps that give you more and better tools to create an effective presentation for a mobile and distributed workforce. In fact, with some practice, you may find yourself creating something that is actually interesting.

Note: This article is also available as a photo gallery.

1: Sway

If your enterprise uses Microsoft Office as its preferred productivity suite, you are probably familiar with the standard presentation tool PowerPoint. But if you operate under an Office 365 subscription, you also have access to an alternative presentation tool from Microsoft called Sway

 

Microsoft designed Sway to be used as a collaboration tool where a team, not necessarily located in the same building, can develop a presentation together. The app allows content beyond the mere slideshow, with support for video, animation, and links to other websites, including social media.

Sway offers hundreds of templates to help you get started. There is also aYouTube channel full of tutorials for Sway. The app is available when you purchase an Office 365 subscription.

2: Google Slides

Of all the apps listed in this article, Google Slides would appear to be the most limited and most likely to be confused with PowerPoint. But this app can be your saving grace when you are tasked with creating a presentation on the fly and all you have is your smartphone.

So while Slides may be limited to the slideshow format, you can still use content from reports, websites, emails, and social media to create your presentation. That may be all you need, especially if you are doing it all on your mobile device.

There are dozens of templates available on Slides, but the tutorial section is not as helpful as the other apps. Google Slides is included with Google Apps.

3: Visme

Visme  is a web-based app that allows you to create presentations, reports, infographics, and even web pages. You drag and drop elements from the toolbar to a slide and then add content specific to your presentation. It is relatively easy and straightforward to create sophisticated slides that include video, audio, and animation.

Visme is available in trial form for free, but the number of templates and tools will be limited. For $16/month you can upgrade to the Premium version and get access to hundreds of professionally developed templates.

There is an extensive set of helpful tutorials available that should answer just about any question you have about how to use Visme.

4: Venngage

Perhaps you are looking to communicate in a more graphical way. If so, you might want to consider Venngage. This web-based app specializes in infographics, reports, posters, and other forms of graphic-rich content. Similar to Visme, you use a toolbar to drag and drop elements to your canvas and then add your specific content. The interaction is similar to a paint application.

You can use the trial version of Venngage for free, but the number of templates available will be limited. However, with the Premium version, available for $19/month or $190/year, there are dozens upon dozens of pre-made templates to choose from.

There are also numerous tutorial and help articles available on the Venngage website.

5: Prezi

Arguably the most innovative and unusual app on this list is Prezi. This app creates a graphic presentation that is best used for communicating information that drills down from the big picture to the specifics. Initially the image shows the audience the big picture, but when a certain part of the image is touched, or a gesture is used on a touchscreen, an animation appears and drills down on the details.

While a Prezi presentation can be shown using any computing device, it is particularly effective on a tablet or touchscreen. Again, this is one possible solution for a mobile enterprise workforce on the go.

A 14-day free trial is available, with the most basic package costing $4.92/month. The Pro package costs $13.25/month. Prezi also has a large tutorial collection available.