26 June 2019

Apple recalls older 15-inch MacBook Pros because the batteries could catch fire

Overheating batteries are no laughing matter, so this may be urgent: Apple has just issued a recall for the 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, saying its batteries “may pose a fire safety risk.”

The company says there are a “limited number” of affected units, sold between September 2015 and February 2017. That could easily be quite a number of laptops over that span. But the company sold that third-generation MacBook Pro between 2012 and 2018, so we’re definitely not talking about every 15-inch rMBP ever sold.

The model you’re looking for is the “MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015),” whose specs you can find here.

If eligible, the company says it’ll replace your battery for free, meaning your older MacBook Pro may wind up lasting longer than it might have normally — much as older iPhones did when Apple offered $29 battery replacements as an apology for throttling the speed of those phones.

The bad news: You’ll need to send your MacBook to one of Apple’s repair centers, and the company’s estimating the fix could take one to two weeks. That’s quite a while, particularly if you need that machine for work. And Apple says this won’t extend your warranty.

Greater protection and control with three Gmail security tools

Google are making three Gmail security features generally available (GA). The features were previously in beta. Check out the linked announcements for more information on each:

Security sandbox, which detects the presence of previously unknown malware in attachments by virtually "executing" them in a private, secure sandbox environment. Learn more.

Advanced phishing and malware protection, which provides new controls to place emails into a quarantine, protect against anomalous attachment types, and protect your Google Groups from inbound spoofing emails. Learn more.

Gmail confidential mode, which provides built-in information rights management controls in your emails by allowing senders to create expiration dates and revoke previously sent messages. Learn more.

25 June 2019

Office 365 Proves Popular with Phishers

With 180 million active users it's no wonder that Microsoft Office 365 has caught the attention of online criminals. According to Microsoft, one in five business workers are now using an Office 365 cloud-based service, with adoption particularly popular in the financial services and manufacturing sectors. And these industries, of course, can provide rich pickings for cybercriminals.

So, it's no surprise to me to learn that phishing attacks targeting Office 365 users outstrip the attacks seen against the likes of Netflix and PayPal, or online banks.

What makes phishing attacks against Office 365 more threatening, of course, is that they're not just after a user's login credentials.

Instead, attackers frequently want to exploit their unauthorised access to an Office 365 account by sending messages from the legitimate account to the victim's business partners or colleagues. A stolen Office 365 password may only raise a tiny amount of money if sold on an underground cybercrime forum compared to the fortunes that can be made through a Business Email Compromise (BEC) attack that requests money be wired to an overseas bank account.

Millions of Dell PCs vulnerable to attack, due to a flaw in bundled system-health software

Millions of Dell PCs and laptops running Windows are vulnerable to attack via a high severity security hole, that could be exploited by malicious hackers to hijack control over devices.

In a support advisory published on its website, Dell reveals that the problem lies within a third-party component of SupportAssist, troubleshooting software bundled with the company’s home user and business PCs. Software which the PC manufacturer describes as “the industry’s first automated proactive and predictive support technology.”

In its promotional material, Dell claims SupportAssist “proactively checks the health of your system’s hardware and software. When an issue is detected, the necessary system state information is sent to Dell for troubleshooting to begin. Dell will contact you to start the resolution conversation, preventing issues from becoming costly problems.”

However, security researcher Peleg Hadar discovered that the PC Doctor component of SupportAssist contains a DLL hijacking vulnerability, which can be exploited during an attack to gain system-level privileges. Through this mechanism a hacker could easily gain control of a targeted computer.

24 June 2019

The 70-year-old retiree who became America’s worst counterfeiter

In 1938, a New York cigar shop owner went to the bank to cash his daily profits.

As the teller sifted through the haul, she spotted an unusual $1 bill. It felt like cheap paper in her hands, the lettering was askew, and George Washington looked more like an animated corpse than a noble head of state. It was, no doubt, the worst counterfeit she’d seen in all her years.

The bill was sent to the United States Secret Service. Soon, thousands more just like it came pouring in, each more abysmal than the last.

For 10 years, agents searched far and wide for the source, launching the most extensive (and expensive) counterfeit investigation in American history. The culprit was deemed to be “the most successful counterfeiter of modern times” — a mastermind.

But the bills were made by no master: They were the work of a 73-year-old junk collector.

Read more of this fascinating tale here: 

21 June 2019

Quadriga founder transferred clients’ cryptocurrency to his own personal accounts, Ernst & Young finds

It’s looking more and more like QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten mismanaged the digital-asset exchange before he died, with cryptocurrencies from clients ending up at rival marketplaces in his personal accounts.

The latest report from Ernst & Young, which is overseeing the bankruptcy process for Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp., paints a clearer picture of a Vancouver-based firm that lacked financial reporting and operational controls, run primarily by a founder whose actions ultimately led to its collapse, leaving hundreds of customers owed millions in cash and cryptocurrency.

“Quadriga’s operating infrastructure appears to have been significantly flawed from a financial reporting and operational control perspective,” the June 19 report said. “Activities were largely directed by a single individual, Mr. Cotten, and as a result typical segregation of duties and basic internal controls did not appear to exist.”

20 June 2019

Florida city pays $600,000 to ransomware gang to have its data back

The city council for Riviera Beach, Florida, voted this week to pay more than $600,000 to a ransomware gang so city officials could recover data that has been locked and encrypted more than three weeks ago.

The city's decision, as reported by CBS News, came after officials came to the conclusion that there was no other way to recover the city's files.

Access to Riviera City data has been locked since May 29, this year, when a Riviera Beach police department employee opened an email and unleashed ransomware on the city's network.

The ransomware locked files and shut down all the city's services. Operations have been down ever since, with the exception of 911 services, which were able to continue to operate, although limited.

The city's website, email server, billing system, and everything else has been down ever since, with all city communications being done in person, over the telephone, or via posters.

The city has been having a hard time recovering from the incident ever since.

Do not EVER pay these crooks: you just end up sticking a big target on your head! Instead: keep your system up to date, patch, backup, don't click on random links. Seek professional advice if unsure. Stay safe out there folks!

Mozilla urges Firefox users to patch browsers immediately

A critical zero-day flaw that allows remote access and control is being actively exploited in the wild. Mozilla has released an emergency update to its Firefox browser to fix a critical vulnerability that is allowing attackers to seize control of users' machines.

Versions 67.0.3 and ESR 60.7.1 has been released to users on Windows, macOS and Linux desktop machines to mitigate a zero-day vulnerability dubbed CVE-2018-11707. The flaw does not arise or on Android, iOS or Amazon Fire TV iterations of the browser.

When exploited, it allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code on flawed machines and is being actively exploited in the wild, according to Mozilla. This could allow cyber criminals to seize full control if a system.

18 June 2019

Google Calendar is Down - as at 5pm 18 June 2019

Our team is continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update with more information about this problem. Thank you for your patience. The affected users are unable to access Google Calendar.

We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Calendar. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Calendar.

17 June 2019

Appeasement, compromise and silence in a D-Day for the Church

Wilberforce Academy Director, Dr Joe Boot, comments on the state of the nation and where we have gone since the Britain of the 1930s and 40s. Sadly, he says, with eroding freedoms and emptying churches, “the heart and soul of the nation [has become] disease-ridden, on life-support and on the edge of extinction.” How will history look back on this generation?

Looking back to the events of World War II is instructive for reflecting on the true price of appeasement and compromise. Despite the Munich agreement of September 1938, on September 1, 1939, the Nazi regime, under the leadership of a democratically elected Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland, triggering the start of World War II. Yet this was not the beginning of German aggression under the Nazis in Europe. By March 15, 1939, not only had Germany violated numerous elements of the Treaty of Versailles in terms of rearmament and remilitarization of the Rhineland, but German forces had marched into Czechoslovakia in the name of uniting German-speaking peoples. Taking over Bohemia and enforcing a ‘protectorate’ over Slovakia, their charge eastward demonstrated unequivocally that Hitler had lied at Munich and had no intention of keeping his word. It was at this point that the now notorious appeasement strategy of British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain was exposed for the folly that it was – a policy, as Winston Churchill memorably described it, of feeding the crocodile in the hope of being eaten last.

During the same period, from the Parliamentary backbenches throughout the 1930s, Churchill had sounded the alarm about German rearmament, Nazi ambitions and the lack of preparedness on the part of the British military in the event of a conflict. He was largely laughed at, ignored or condemned as a warmongering dinosaur. Even those within his own party frequently spoke against him as alarmist and draconian. It was only after massive pressure in the British press that in 1939 he was finally made a member of cabinet – and for that we can be thankful! It is a rare thing for cultural prophets to be heard and heeded, whether in ancient Israel, mid-twentieth century Britain or the early part of the twenty-first century in the West.

The recent high-profile commemorations of the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day should have been sobering for any thoughtful Christian – especially in the UK. As a Brit living in Canada, with a Dutch grandfather who fought in some of the dangerous early allied operations in Europe, I cannot help feeling a deep sense of sadness and regret at what we have become as a nation after all the faith-filled sacrifice of that era. Though by no means flawless, this was a generation deeply shaped by Christian virtues, quiet hope in God and a strong sense of the justice of their cause. They recognized that civilised society and socio-cultural order involves a covenant between past, present and future. As such they felt duty-bound to fight for the faith and freedoms that had been bequeathed to them through much sacrifice in the past and obligated to preserve that faith and freedom for their children and grandchildren.

But there can no longer be any doubt that the Britain of the 1930s and 40s, which my grandparents loved and defended, is gone. I do not just mean that the passage of time has altered the English landscape, or that the stylish modesty of 40s fashion has given way to the obvious and vulgar. Nor I am simply observing that various valuable customs, manners and traditions have all but disappeared – I remember as a boy, for example, my grandfather always raising his hat when passing a lady in the street or standing when a lady entered the room as a mark of respect. It is not only because the typical English roast dinner around the family table after church has gone the way of the dodo that I look back with grief – I would be just as happy with a family biryani these days. Rather, I mean that the heart and soul of the nation is disease-ridden, on life-support and on the edge of extinction.

When smart = dumb: your TV can get infected by a virus!

Nearly anything that connects to the internet can be hacked. And that includes Samsung's QLED TVs. 

In a tweet, Samsung US support account shared a video on Sunday outlining how users can scan their smart TVs for viruses. It is unclear what prompted the tweet or why the process seems to be opt-in as opposed to the operating system automatically scanning for viruses in the background. 

Touring Motorcycles - the joys of the open road

Ask anyone that’s ridden a touring motorcycle what the experience is like and they will tell you it is complete freedom. Getting out of the city and taking in the beauty of the world is a breath-taking experience. To fully enjoy it, you need to invest in a high-quality touring bike. Let’s grab a closer look at what makes touring motorcycles so special, where the best places to ride them are and why many different generations of riders are getting on board.

Just like RoadRUNNER suggests, ten varying people will offer ten different definitions of what a touring bike is. In fact, the editors at RoadRUNNER state that “virtually any type of motorcycle can be an enjoyable touring bike.”

What they found is that most touring bikes have similar qualities to them. They can go a longer distance on a tank of fuel than other bikes. They are also comfortable to ride for extended times. Because most riders need to carry more during these trips, touring bikes contain more carrying capacity. Finally, this line-up of motorcycles needs to be reliable.

13 June 2019

Apollo’s brain: The computer that guided man to the Moon

When Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, it was more than a triumph of the human spirit, it was also the story of a cybernetic wonder called the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), which helped the Apollo astronauts safely navigate to the Moon and back. It was a computer so advanced for its time that the engineers who created it said they probably wouldn't have tried to do so if they'd known what they were getting themselves into.

The reason why all the Apollo missions carried at least one of these computers is that the Moon missions involved navigation problems that would have made Captain Cook go bug eyed. On Earth, navigation is, at its simplest, about finding one's way from one fixed point on the globe to another. For a trip to the Moon, it's like standing with a rifle on a turntable that's spinning at the centre of a much larger turntable on which is a third turntable sitting on the rim, with all the tables spinning at different and varying speeds, and trying to hit the target by aiming at where it will be three days from now.

08 June 2019

Want someone's personal data? Give them a free donut!

While you might expect Homer Simpson to hand over personal details in exchange for a donut, you wouldn't expect cybersecurity professionals to do the same.

However, technology services provider Probrand has carried out a study at a cyber expo attended by UK security professionals, where attendees voluntarily shared sensitive data including their name, date of birth and favourite football team -- all to get their hands on a free donut.

This follows recent news that millions of accounts are still using '123456' as a password, with people's names, favourite football teams and favourite bands also commonly employed.

"We wanted to put this theory to the test and see just how willing people were to give up their data," says Mark Lomas, technical architect at Probrand. "We started by asking conversational questions such as 'How are you finding the day? Got any plans for after the event?' If someone happened to mention they were collecting their kids from school, we then asked what their names and ages were. One individual even showed a photograph of their children."

06 June 2019

Michelin and GM unveil airless tires for a puncture-free ride

Michelin has teamed with General Motors to target a 2024 production goal for airless tires. The tires, called Uptis, will have several benefits over radial tubeless tires and will debut for testing on the Chevrolet Bolt electric car.

Michelin says that the Unique Puncture-proof Tire System ("Uptis") prototype represents a major step toward realizing its Vision concept, first unveiled at the Movin'On Summit for sustainable mobility in 2017. The end goal is to replace both tire and wheel with a full assembly unit for passenger vehicle use. GM plans to begin real-world testing of the Uptis prototypes later this year on a Michigan-based fleet of Bolt EVs.

Airless tire technology has several benefits both for the vehicle driver and for the planet. The tires use less raw material and less energy in their production, reduce the number of scrapped tires from puncture or damage, eliminate most irregular wear issues from over or under inflation, and reduce dangers on the road from blowouts and sudden flats.

05 June 2019

Motorcyclist Magazine: 2019 Indian FTR 1200 S First Ride Review

Indian Motorcycle sets its eye on a new class within the V-twin segment, inventing a fresh product category with its FTR 1200. 

Engineered in partnership with its championship-winning AFT Twins flat-track racing program, the 2019 FTR 1200 S is a road-legal street tracker and a worthy choice for motorcyclists who want to get sideways. 

To prove it, Indian Motorcycle invited us south of the border and into the Baja Peninsula to experience just how wild of a ride the FTR is

04 June 2019

PC Magazine UK votes Synology best Server / NAS device for work

The best router and network storage should be invisible to users in the office. They simply work, day in, day out, delivering internet connectivity and fast, reliable, local storage of files (and more). Of course, they're not invisible to the admins who run them, which is why we ask the IT people in charge at the office to rate the brands they use across a number of criteria every year. These are their picks.

Synology say: For the sixth time Synology won the Business Choice Award for Work Servers/NAS! Scoring a whopping 9.1 overall satisfaction rating, 'there's little doubt that for PCMag readers who've gone with a Synology NAS at the office, there's no going back.’

Want to know more about how a Synology NAS can help in your workplace or home office? Contact Donline for more info.