Enlarge (credit: Gammew)

Last week, introduced readers to Hajime, the vigilante botnet that infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them. A technical analysis published Wednesday reveals for the first time just how much technical acumen went into designing and building the renegade network, which just may be the Internet's most advanced IoT botnet.

As previously reported, Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations used by Mirai, the IoT botnet that spawned several, record-setting denial-of-service attacks last year. Once Hajime infects an Internet-connected camera, DVR, and other Internet-of-things device, the malware blocks access to four ports known to be the most widely used vectors for infecting IoT devices. It also displays a cryptographically signed message on infected device terminals that describes its creator as "just a white hat, securing some systems."

Not your father's IoT botnet

But unlike the bare-bones functionality found in Mirai, Hajime is a full-featured package that gives the botnet reliability, stealth, and reliance that's largely unparalleled in the IoT landscape. Wednesday's technical analysis, which was written by Pascal Geenens, a researcher at security firm Radware, makes clear that the unknown person or people behind Hajime invested plenty of time and talent.


Enlarge/ The Flex 2's module is super tiny and slides into this silicone band. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Samsung isn't the only company that has had deal with exploding products. A Wisconsin woman told ABC News that her new Fitbit Flex 2 activity tracker "exploded" on her wrist while she read a book earlier this week. Dina Mitchell was treated at an area urgent care provider the next day and was left with second-degree burns on her wrist.

After the device combusted, Mitchell quickly removed it from her wrist. Doctors allegedly had to remove small pieces of rubber and plastic from her arm left by the melting device. Mitchell received the Flex 2 as a birthday gift and only had it for about two weeks before the incident.

Fitbit knows about the incident and offered Mitchell a free replacement device. Fitbit provided its full statement:


Enlarge/ The announcement of the Creators Update in October 2016.

Two weeks into its phased rollout, the Creators Update (version 1703) is on about ten percent of Windows 10 machines.

That number comes from AdDuplex, which collects statistics from Windows 10 machines running apps built with its advertising SDK. 9.8 percent of Windows 10 machines are on 1703, 82.1 percent are on the Anniversary Update, 6 percent are on version 1511, and just 1.8 percent are on the original RTM release.

That original release (sometimes known as 1507, following the year-year-month-month naming pattern used for subsequent releases) moves out of support on May 9. Although Windows 10 itself has a minimum of ten years of support, maintaining that support will still require periodic upgrades. This is not an entirely new policy; in the days of Windows Service Packs, the release of a new Service Pack would start a two-year countdown for support of the previous Service Pack. After those two years, only the new Service Pack would be supported. The timetable is a little condensed, however; Windows 10 1507 is not yet two years old, and it won't be two years old when it falls out of support.


Enlarge/ AMD's new Radeon Pro Duo GPU. (credit: AMD)

A little over a year after launching the last Radeon Pro Duo graphics card, AMD is back with an all-new version that has the same name but makes a whole bunch of changes. The new Radeon Pro Duo mashes two separate 14nm Polaris GPUs with 2,304 stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs, and 16GB of graphics RAM apiece (for a total of 32GB) into a single card. As the name implies, the card is being aimed primarily at professional users rather than gamers. It's based on the Radeon Pro WX 7100 workstation GPU, which uses one GPU with most of the same specs as the Radeon Pro Duo but with 8GB of RAM instead of 16GB.

You can find the full spec list for the card here, which will launch at "the end of May" for $999.

The card is quite different from last year's Radeon Pro Duo—that card launched at $1,499 and featured a pair of 28nm Fiji GPUs with 4,096 stream processors and 4GB of RAM each; it was also a power-hungry monster, requiring its own closed-loop liquid cooler, three external PCIe power plugs, and as much as 350W of power. The new card only needs two power plugs, uses an air blower typical of most GPUs, and has a rated TBP (typical board power) of 250W.


Enlarge/ Intel Optane Memory. Engineering sample, but we hope it's the same as retail hardware.

3D XPoint (pronounced "crosspoint," not "ex-point") is a promising form of non-volatile memory jointly developed by Intel and Micron. Intel claims that the memory, which it's branding Optane for commercial products, provides a compelling mix of properties putting it somewhere between DRAM and NAND flash.

The first Optane products are almost here. For certain enterprise workloads, there's the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X, a 375GB PCIe card that offers substantially lower latency than comparable flash drives and can boast high numbers of I/O operations per second (IOPS) over a much wider range of workloads than flash. Intel isn't letting reviewers actually use the P4800X, however; the first testing of the hardware, published earlier this week, was performed remotely using hardware on Intel's premises.

For the consumer, there's Intel Optane Memory. It's an M.2 PCIe stick with a capacity of 16GB ($44) or 32GB ($77), and it should be on sale today. Unlike the P4800X, Intel is letting reviewers get hold of Optane Memory or at least something close to it: the part we received was branded "engineering sample," with no retail branding or packaging. The astute reader will note that 16 or 32GB isn't a whole lot of storage. Although the sticks can be used as conventional, if tiny, NVMe SSDs, Intel is positioning them as caches for spinning disks. Pair Optane Memory with a large cheap hard disk, and the promise is that you'll get SSD-like performance—some of the time, at least—with HDD-like capacity.


Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/BBC)

This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Smile. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who broadcasts on Saturdays at 7:20pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Emojis aren't only the future of language for us doomed Earthlings, but we're also the only poor saps throughout the universe who use them. This is one of many things that the Doctor's ace new companion Bill Potts learns from her intergalactic tutor in Smile, the second installment of series 10 of Doctor Who.

While Nardole (Matt Lucas) is left back at base grumpily guarding the mysterious vault in the bowels of the university and making a brew (NB: for our American readers, that's a cup of tea), Bill (Pearl Mackie) tells the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) that she wants to travel to the future. "Why?" he asks. "I wanna see if it's happy," she says.


Enlarge

Today, Google is shipping a major update for Google Home: multi-user support. Up to six people will be able to connect their account to Google's voice appliance, which will then be able to identify each person just by listening to them speak. The Google Home app jumped the gun on this launch earlier in the month, but now the feature is actually rolling out.

After connecting their accounts, each user will have to go through the usual hotword training, reciting "OK Google" to the device three times. For future commands, Google Home will then call out the name of the person it detects before it gives a response. So if you ask "What's my day like?" Google Home will respond with "Good Morning [name]," and then rattle off the weather and calendar appointments. To start the setup process, look for the card that says "multi-user is available" in the Google Home app. Thanks to the way Google rolls out features, it might take a few days.

On-the-fly detection of voices sounds like a challenging problem to overcome. During the training process, your "OK Google" phrases are analyzed by a neural network, which Google says can "detect certain characteristics of a person's voice." Future "OK Google" commands are compared to the previous analysis, and Google Home decides if it's a match. Google notes, "this comparison takes place only on your device, in a matter of milliseconds."


Enlarge (credit: Seth Anderson)

Mirai, the botnet that threatened the Internet as we knew it last year with record-setting denial-of-service attacks, is facing an existential threat of its own: A competing botnet known as Hajime has infected at least 10,000 home routers, network-connected cameras, and other so-called Internet of Things devices.

Hajime uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to issue commands and updates to infected devices. This design makes it more resistant to takedowns by ISPs and Internet backbone providers. Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations Mirai uses, with the addition of two more. It also takes steps to conceal its running processes and files, a feature that makes detecting infected systems more difficult. Most interesting of all: Hajime appears to be the brainchild of a grayhat hacker, as evidenced by a cryptographically signed message it displays every 10 minutes or so on terminals. The message reads:

Just a white hat, securing some systems.


Mac and iOS users with old hardware can now get some of Apple's fundamental software for free. According to a report from MacRumors, the iWork and iLife suite of apps, including iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for Mac and iOS, are now listed as free in the App Store.

Previously, users with old hardware had to pay for each app. Individual programs cost between $5 and $20 each, which would add up if a user with an old Mac or iOS device wanted to download and use both suites. In 2013, Apple made iWork and iLife apps free for new Mac and iOS customers, but that meant you had to purchase a new Apple device before you could download any of those apps at no cost. Until now, users with hardware released before 2013 still had to pay for iWork and iLife if they hadn't made a new Apple purchase recently.

Now there's no more confusion surrounding the availability of Apple's basic apps. Anyone with old Apple devices can download the latest versions of iWork and iLife apps for free with no strings attached. It might be too little, too late for some; Apple's App Store is so vast that users with old hardware probably found iWork- and iLife-equivalents to use. While we don't know if future updates of iWork and iLife apps will be compatible with all old devices, it's worthwhile to download the latest versions now.

Now there's no more confusion surrounding the availability of Apple's basic apps. Anyone with old Apple devices can download the latest versions of iWork and iLife apps for free with no strings attached. It might be too little, too late for some; Apple's App Store is so vast that users with old hardware probably found iWork- and iLife-equivalents to use. While we don't know if future updates of iWork and iLife apps will be compatible with all old devices, it's worthwhile to download the latest versions now.


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg kicked off his company's annual "F8" conference on Tuesday with a stark mission statement: People don't look at Facebook on their phones enough, and he has plans to change that.

The plan revolves around adding "augmented reality" (AR) features to Facebook's smartphone apps using our existing cameras. Starting today, basic features will be added to the Facebook app in a "closed beta" that makes more content appear when pointing a phone's camera at the real world.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg kicked off his company's annual "F8" conference on Tuesday with a stark mission statement: People don't look at Facebook on their phones enough, and he has plans to change that.

The plan revolves around adding "augmented reality" (AR) features to Facebook's smartphone apps using our existing cameras. Starting today, basic features will be added to the Facebook app in a "closed beta" that makes more content appear when pointing a phone's camera at the real world.


Page 1 of 72
    
  1. IT News

    Parents can now create Google accounts for their kids with Google Family Link

    For the first time ever, Google is targeting children under 13 for account creation. The new "Google Family Link" app allows parents to make special Google accounts for kids under 13, which can be monitored and locked down. Right now, the program is in a US-only, invite-only "early access" beta, and the child's device has the hefty requirement

    One of eight remaining functional Apple I computers goes up for auction in May

    Auction Team Breker If you think today's Macs are expensive, hold on to your butts: on May 20, Auction Team Breker will sell one of just eight known working Apple I computers in existence. Breker estimates that the computer will sell for between $190,000 and $320,000, which
  2. SmartPhones

    Report: Apple is planning a major iPhone overhaul for the fall

    Enlarge/ The Jet Black iPhone 7, replete with fingerprints. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)Apple is said to be planning not one, not two, but three new iPhones for release this fall, if "people familiar with the matter" speaking to Bloomberg are to be believed.Two of those models will use the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch IPS screens that we're alrea

    Knomo #LiveFree: A stylish tech backpack designed by non-techies

    Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)Unlike our friends over at the ever-stylish GQ, the Orbital HQ is rarely filled with the kinds of fashion-forward accessories a modern man needs, let alone the entirely frivolous, but ultimately more satisfying ones, it doesn't. You can imagine my surprise when London-based mid-priced bag and accessory maker Knomo got
  3. Tablets

    Apple’s new $329 9.7-inch iPad replaces Air 2, has no Pro features [Updated]

    Apple Apple quietly announced via press release this morning that it would not be replacing any of its top-end iPads, just its two-year-old midrange iPad Air 2. The company's new mainstream 9.7-inch tablet, called simply "iPad," includes an Apple A9 SoC (not an A9X), but its most exci

    Review: Apple’s $329 iPad is for people who have never upgraded their tablet

    Andrew Cunningham Apple isn’t shy about admitting it: the biggest feature of its newest iPad is the price. At $329, it’s $70 cheaper than the iPad Air 2 used to be, $270 cheaper than the smaller iPad Pro costs now, and $170 cheaper than the initial starting price of the iP
  4. Laptops