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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire ThousandEyes

Cisco today announced its intent to acquire privately held ThousandEyes, Inc. headquartered in San Francisco, CA. ThousandEyes' Internet and Cloud intelligence platform delivers deep visibility and insights into the digital delivery of applications and services over the Internet.

The last few years have seen a rapid acceleration of Cloud adoption, widespread use of SaaS applications, and a reliance on the Internet and networks outside of enterprise control. This increased dependence on the Internet and other third-party infrastructures, compounded over the past several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, substantially reduces the ability for enterprise IT teams to predict, visualize and control operational behavior. The result is often a chaotic and unmanageable IT environment that makes issue resolution a time-consuming ordeal that can potentially have a massive impact on customer experience, brand reputation and revenue.

Windows 10 Market Share Drops Between March and April

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has historically been rising in market share thanks to the slow depreciation of Windows 7 OS, and Microsoft's efforts to push it as only Windows OS available for desktop users. However, according to the information by NetMarketShare, a company providing statistics about the market share of Internet Technologies (browsers and OSes), Windows 10 has seen a decrease in market share. This news is a surprising discovery, given that the OS is expected to be gaining new market share slowly, given that Windows 7 has reached the end of life in January.

From 57.37% of market share in February, Windows 10 got down to 57.34% in March and 56.08% in April. While this may seem just like a few percentage decrease, given the massive amount of PCs available, it can be counted in thousands. What could be the reason behind this is the current COVID-19 related pandemic and slower demand for office PCs, as everyone is working from home now. This was a big growth sector for Windows 10 as the previous version of Windows, the 7, was very popular in office space before its EoL. Of course, this is just a speculation which you should take with a big grain of salt. Some of the interesting things to point out is that Ubuntu, a Linux kernel based operating system, has massively increased its market share from 0.27% in March to 1.89% in April.
Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft Flight Simulator Requirements Listed, Ideal Specification Requires 150 GB of Drive Space and RTX 2080 GPU

Microsoft's flight simulator, an upcoming game designed to bring real-life scenarios of flying an airplane, just got a list of system requirements needed to run a game. To play with Flight Simulator, you would at least need to have a quad-core CPU like AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or Intel Core i5-4460 equipped system, along with 8 GB of RAM. For graphics, you would need a GPU with at least 2 GB of VRAM, where the requirement is either AMD Radeon RX 570 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 GPU. Another interesting observation is the requirement of 150 GB of drive space, meaning that this game will be pretty big. Internet connection needs to be 5 Mbps at minimum, and as you up the resolution and graphics, you would need a faster connection. You can check out the entire table below.

The need for incrementally faster connection comes out of one reason - adaptive streaming. The game looks stunning, and if you wish to play at the highest quality, parts of the game will be rendered in the cloud. Microsoft is using its Azure infrastructure to help and render parts of the game and stream it down to your PC. This ensures that your PC is capable of playing the game and Microsoft is showing how they can tap the power of cloud for uses like this.
Microsoft Flight Simulator System Requirements Microsoft Flight Simulator Microsoft Flight Simulator Microsoft Flight Simulator

The COVID-19 Pandemic, or Why Chaos Isn't a Pit... It's a Ladder

I had to take that sentence from Game of Thrones' Little Finger (if you recognized it, kudos to you), since I believe it to be mostly true, given we have the right mindset about that which surrounds us. While the pandemic will always be a mainly bleak point in humanity's history, and everyday there are reports of people being their worst selves through these difficult times, there is also always opportunity for growth affixed to any great crisis. It falls upon us, our institutions, and on companies, to see really what we can learn from situations such as these.

For one, we've seen, beyond any possible ideological beliefs we may have, that the Internet is a utility, not a commodity. Its capability to bridge the gaps in geography - and in social connection - is just too important in our globalized society to be considered anything other than a fundamental right. Discussions on this point have been ongoing for a while, and debates surrounding things like the net neutrality have already given birth to rivers of both actual and digital ink. However, it is this writer's opinion that the discussion is moot, and nothing more than a speedbump until we achieve the final, inescapable truth that the Internet is a crucial part of the world's infrastructure, and not only that - of what it means to be human in our modern world.

Internet Exchange Operator DE-CIX Sees COVID-19 Causing Customers to Order Higher Data Caps

DE-CIX, the operator of the world's largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is taking stock for the first time since the tightening of public measures in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. DE-CIX has noted a strong change in data traffic and also in Internet user behavior. The average data traffic at the world's largest Internet Exchange in Frankfurt has increased by 10% since last Wednesday. Compared to the previous few weeks, there has also been a significant increase in video conferencing traffic - such as Skype, Teams, and WebEx - of about 50%, and a rising number of VPN users has also been registered. In addition, since Friday last week there has also been an increase of about 25% in online and cloud gaming, and there has also been a significant increase in traffic from the use of social media platforms. Similar results are expected for the other DE-CIX locations.

"Capacities in our own network are regularly expanded on a long-term basis. We always plan for about twelve months in advance. We continue expanding as soon as 63% of the existing capacities are reached. The remaining 37% free capacity is needed to create redundancy and to ensure that we always have enough free capacity for traffic growth. In addition to our network for the Internet Exchange, customers also need to expand capacity in their own network. These expansions are carried out by the customers themselves, according to their own processes and procedures," comments Dr Thomas King, CTO at DE-CIX, on the increasing data traffic.
DE-CIX traffic growth due to COVID-19

Microsoft Part of Global Operation to Disrupt World's Largest Online Criminal Network

Microsoft today announced it was part of a global operation meant to disrupt the world's largest online criminal network. Dubbed Necurs, the network functioned as a botnet - a number of computers infected by malware or otherwise malicious software that are functioning on behalf of a botmaster. The botmaster is basically akin to an administrator - but for nefarious purposes.

Thought to be controlled by criminals based in Russia, Necurs spanned more than nine million computing devices across 35 countries, making it one of the largest spam email threat ecosystems known to authorities - besides being used for pump-and-dump stock scams, fake pharmaceutical spam email and "Russian dating" scams. Necurs was such a well-oiled machine that it was seen sending 3.8 million spam messages to over 40 million targets across a 58-day long time frame in the investigation.

A Case for Windows Defender: Triad of Perfect Scores in AV-Test

Here's a strange thing: a case for a free, bundled software solution being better (in the metrics concerned and evaluated) than paid, third-party counterparts. We're writing of none other than Microsoft's own Windows Defender suite, which is bundled with Windows and offers a security solution integrated into your OS. While the "paid is always better" philosophy has been proven wrong time and again and isn't that much of a powerhouse behind users' thought process anymore, the fact is that Windows Defender has somewhat been taken for granted as an "undesirability" in users' computers. However, a comparison made by AV-Test, which pits many of the available cybersecurity solutions available on the market, has found Microsoft's Windows Defender to be worthy of a triad of perfect scores.

The results for Windows Defender include perfect (6.0) scores in the "Protection", "Performance" and Usability" categories. The testing period refers to May through June of this year, and only F-Secure SAFE 17, Kaspersky Internet Security 19 and Norton Security 22.17 managed to get the same perfect scores as Windows Defender Version 4.18. Check out the link for the score of your cybersecurity solution of choice. But it's clear that least where this period is concerned, Windows Defender walked circles around some paid solutions.

NETGEAR Delivers Advanced Network Protection With New Nighthawk Cybersecurity WiFi Router

NETGEAR , Inc. (NASDAQ:NTGR), the leading provider of networking devices that connect smart homes and small businesses to the world, today announced the availability of a new router designed to keep your network secure from online threats, the Nighthawk Cybersecurity AC2300 WiFi Router (RS400). With three years of NETGEAR Armor powered by Bitdefender included, the RS400 is well-matched to provide the best-in-class anti-virus, anti-malware, and data protection for an unlimited number of devices on your network including PCs, laptops, mobile devices, IoT and Smart Home.

Unlike software applications that are installed on laptops or smartphones, the Nighthawk Cybersecurity WiFi Router is designed to provide protection for all the connected devices on your network including vulnerable IoT smart home products. Given that the router directs all incoming and outgoing internet traffic on the network, the router becomes the first line of defense for the connected home. In addition to scanning incoming traffic for security risks, the RS400 also monitors for and can intercept rogue traffic generated from a device, in the event that a device has been hijacked.

Microsoft's Edge Browser Confirmed Dead; Long Live Microsoft Edge

So, it goes like this: Microsoft has confirmed they will be killing of their own-developed Edge browser in favor of a Chromium-based alternative. However... The new browser will retain Microsoft's Edge nomenclature, instead of parting ways with the (likely damaged) branding. Microsoft is committing to the open-based Chromium backbone, and will be building upon its database to contribute towards a more open Internet.

The idea is to deliver more frequent updates - and of course, reducing the engineering and coding efforts to keep an in-house browser up to date and secure from all manner of Internet threats. And this will likely be achieved; whether Microsoft's efforts will bring it a higher market share than the current 4%, though, is anyone's guess. It seems to be a usual Microsoft dilemma in that the first search on its browsers is for another web browser... And it might remain especially so without a branding change. Living in Chrome just sounds better than living on Edge.

Wi-Fi Alliance Introduces Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3 Security

Wi-Fi Alliance introduces Wi-Fi CERTIFIED WPA3 , the next generation of Wi-Fi security, bringing new capabilities to enhance Wi-Fi protections in personal and enterprise networks. Building on the widespread adoption of WPA2 over more than a decade, WPA3 adds new features to simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength for highly sensitive data markets. As the Wi-Fi industry transitions to WPA3 security, WPA2 devices will continue to interoperate and provide recognized security.

WPA3 security continues to support the market through two distinct modes of operation: WPA3-Personal and WPA3-Enterprise. All WPA3 networks use the latest security methods, disallow outdated legacy protocols, and require use of Protected Management Frames (PMF) to maintain resiliency of mission critical networks. Key capabilities of WPA3 include:
  • WPA3-Personal: more resilient, password-based authentication even when users choose passwords that fall short of typical complexity recommendations. WPA3 leverages Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), a secure key establishment protocol between devices, to provide stronger protections for users against password guessing attempts by third parties.
  • WPA3-Enterprise: offers the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength, providing additional protections for networks transmitting sensitive data, such as government or finance. The 192-bit security suite ensures a consistent combination of cryptographic tools are deployed across WPA3 networks.

Magewell to Debut the Ultra Stream HDMI Standalone Streaming Encoder

Expanding beyond its highly-acclaimed strengths in video capture and playout, Magewell will take the wraps off the company's first standalone, hardware-based streaming encoder in booth SU6324 at the 2018 NAB Show. Making live streaming production remarkably simple even for non-professional users, the new Ultra Stream HDMI enables customers to record or stream high-quality video from a variety of sources with one click using on-device buttons or an intuitive, accompanying smartphone app.

Magewell's capture products are renowned for outstanding ease of use, and the Ultra Stream HDMI continues this tradition. Designed for users who want to stream but may have very little technical knowledge, the encoder is ideal for everyone from church volunteers, teachers and gamers to corporate marketers and live event organizers.

Western Digital Ships "Someone's Backdoor" With My Cloud Drives

Western Digital has seemingly been shipping their My Cloud personal network attached storage solutions with an integrated backdoor. It's not really that complicated a backdoor either - a malicious user should always be able to use it. That stems from the fact that it's a hard coded backdoor with unchangeable credentials - logging in to someone's My Cloud is as simple as inputing "mydlinkBRionyg" as the Administrator username and "abc12345cba" as the respective password. Once logged in, shell access is unlocked, which allows for easy injection of commands.

The backdoor has been published by James Bercegay, with GulfTech Research and Development, and was disclosed to Western Digital on June 12th 2017. However, since more than 6 months have passed with no patch or solution having been deployed, the researchers disclosed and published the vulnerability, which should (should) finally prompt WD to action on fixing the issue. Making things even worse, no user action is required to enable attackers to take advantage of the exploit - simply visiting malicious websites can leave the drives wide open for exploit - and the outing of a Metasploit module for this very vulnerability means that the code is now out there, and Western Digital has a race in its hands. The thing is, it needn't have.

Eric Schmidt Steps Down as Alphabet's Exec Chairman

Eric Schmidt late Thursday surprised the tech industry with an announcement to step down as executive chairman of Alphabet, the all-encompassing conglomerate that owns Google's various divisions, including Google Inc., which handles Google's search, web, and online advertising businesses, led by Sundar Pichai. Schmidt did not name a successor.

Eric Schmidt, who served the Internet giant from 2001, is credited with overseeing its 2015 reorganization from the monolithic Google with its various brands, divisions, and subsidiaries, to Alphabet, a conglomerate that owns its various businesses transcending Internet-based services. We are awaiting more details on Schmidt's future plans, and what his exit means for Alphabet.

High-Speed Broadband Internet to Become a Legal Right for UK Citizens by 2020

The Government has confirmed that universal high speed broadband will be delivered by a regulatory Universal Service Obligation (USO), giving everyone in the UK access to speeds of at least 10 Mbps by 2020. This is the speed that Ofcom, the independent regulator, says is needed to meet the requirements of an average family. After careful consideration the government has decided that regulation is the best way of making sure everyone in the UK can get a decent broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps as soon as possible.

Following the creation of new powers when the Government passed the Digital Economy Act 2017, we launched our consultation on the design of the regulatory USO in the summer. The Government will now set out the design for a legal right to high speed broadband in secondary legislation early next year, alongside our detailed response to the consultation.

Cryptojacking: Over 2,500 Websites Out There to Steal Your CPU Time

Cryptojacking is a new phenomenon, which was popularized by ThePirateBay embedding its website with a Javascript-based crypto-currency miner. It quickly sprung up the debate on whether crypto-currency miners hidden into web-pages could become the revenue model of the future, replacing online advertising or paid subscriptions. Some commentators argue that it's fine as long as users are made sufficiently aware that a website is embedding a miner, and is presented with a choice between ads and the miner. Others were steadfast against the idea as heavy Internet browsing (across multiple tabs), could bring down computers to a crawl, and have a more than tangible impact on electricity bills.

According to an ArsTechnica report, there could be at least 2,500 websites out there, with embedded crypto-currency miners that are hidden from the users. Willem de Groot, an independent cybersecurity researcher told the publication that he estimates JS miners may have proliferated to 2,496 websites, and its adoption is on the rise. Some dishonest websites embed miners as a revenue source in addition to ads and sponsored content. At the heart of the controversy is Coinhive. This company sells easy-to-integrate crypto-currency miners that can be embedded into websites as a revenue source. The company is on a marketing overdrive, writing to siteops and bloggers to spread their miners.

Politifact Sees Unsactioned Introduction of Web Miner, Vows to Investigate

This here is an issue that this editor has been fearing for a while, and that we here at TPU have called our users' attention to in the past. It's bad enough when websites willingly implement web mining scripts absent of users' consent or simple knowledge. Opt-in mining as a contribution to a website's revenue would be the best way to go around the issue; however, absent that, a simple opt-out capability wouldn't be much worse. But if stealth usage of a site viewers' computing resources is bad, what then can be said when the site managers themselves are unaware of the implementation of a web miner?

This is what happened with Politifact, the US politics fact-checking website, which is but one of hundreds of the world's top traffic websites that have seen the stealth introduction of these web mining scripts - against the will of the site managers. In the meantime, Politifact has brought down the offending code and has vowed to investigate, but this opens up Pandora's box, really. Generally speaking, these JavaScript apps are running code hosted on another server that the end user - and sometimes even the site hosts - can't inspect or don't expect to have to inspect. And this is easier to do than one would imagine; there's a lack of protection against JavaScript routines like this one. And where there's potential for profit, there's abuse; and that's what we're seeing. It also doesn't help that injecting the necessary JavaScript into the front page of a website is much easier than a full blown hack into a website's databases; and once the code has been shoehorned into a website's code, it runs itself, hijacking users' CPU cycles and putting the resulting Monero coins into a designated wallet.

Invading Subscriber Privacy - Senate Says ISPs Can Now Sell Your Data

The US Senate on Thursday passed a joint resolution to eliminate broadband privacy rules that would have required ISPs to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other companies. This win was pulled by a hair - 48 Nay against 50 Yea - and went entirely through party lines, with Republicans voting Yea, and the Democrats voting Nay. The effects won't be immediate, mind you - the measure will have to pass the House and then be signed by President Donald Trump before it can become law.

Steam and Linux on the PS4 - AMD's "Bonaire" GPU Register Reference Found

While trying to hack the PS4 in order to make it run Linux (in a bid to get Steam and possibly other programs running on the PS4's hardware), hackers hit a snag: they couldn't get the PS4's GPU to display any kind of output or process any kind of graphics. Like any good researcher would, when hit with a snag, the hackers turned to scouring the Internet in hopes of finding any kind of documentation that could help them harness the PS4's Pitcairn-based GPU.

TrendNet Launches TEW-817DTR AC750 Router for Road Warriors

TRENDnet, a best-in-class wired and wireless networking hardware brand, announces the availability of the AC750 Wireless Travel Router, model TEW-817DTR-built for today's connected road warrior. "More and more travelers need to connect mixed WiFi AC and WiFi N device to the internet," stated Zak Wood, marketing director for TRENDnet. "Our TEW-817DTR keeps all devices connected by broadcasting concurrent WiFi AC and WiFi N networks. As well, three interchangeable North American, UK, and Euro electrical plugs reduce the need for electrical power plug adapters when traveling abroad."

Microsoft to Rebrand Internet Explorer

Despite some genuine increases in performance and reliability, Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) is turning into a relic. Once an unbeatable web-browser that attracted anti-competition lawsuits the world over, its market-share (usage) has dropped below 10 percent, according to W3Schools. With Windows 10, Microsoft plans to completely rebrand the bundled web-browser.

Codenamed "Project Spartan," the browser will feature a new UI, and a different branding from MSIE. It will also shed useless code, and will have a smaller memory footprint, much in the same way Firefox was a toned, peppy rebrand of Mozilla/Netscape Navigator. You could even expect a new icon. Microsoft could undertake a massive marketing campaign for the new browser, of a scale similar to Google's, for its Chrome browser. Microsoft could even delink the browser from Windows Update, to facilitate faster security and bug fixes. The browser could debut with beta releases of Windows 10, and its first stable version could come out with Windows 10 RTM.

Intel, Samsung, Others Team Up to Drive Seamless Device-to-Device Connectivity

Technology industry leaders Atmel Corporation, Broadcom Corporation, Dell, Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Wind River, are joining forces to establish a new industry consortium focused on improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

Sony WG-C20, 9mm Thick Portable Wireless Server To Hit Retail In November

Measuring just 14.4x7cm and 9mm thin, the pocket-sized server is evolved from the WG-C10, now adding even more possibilities to manage all your content while you're on the move or at home. Styled to match the latest Xperia smartphone, it's also a great companion for other phone and tablet users. Slip in an SD memory card and use the WG-C20 to view and share all those photos, videos and MP3 music? even office documents and other PC files. For even more storage capacity, hook up USB devices like a flash memory, digital camera or portable hard drive1.

It's the first Portable Wireless Server from Sony that supports NFC for fuss-free wireless connection. Just touch your Xperia or other NFC-equipped mobile device briefly against the WG-C20: the app wakes up and automatically makes a direct Wi-Fi connection with no fiddly set-up codes. Then enjoy wireless streaming of photos and movie clips from the server onto your smartphone. With support for DLNA, the WG-C20 is just like a mini home media server. Stream stored video, photos and music to your TV, hi-fi, PCs, tablets and other networked DLNA client devices around the house - with no cables needed. You can also hook up an external hard drive via USB cable and share the contents.

Belkin Announces WeMo SMART, a Platform to Bring Internet to Everyday Devices

Belkin, creator of people-inspired technology products, today announced WeMo SMART, a program designed to bring its simple, Wi-Fi based WeMo home automation platform to new brands and a wider variety of household devices. Jarden Consumer Solutions ("JCS"), a leading provider of global consumer products brands, will be the first company to partner with WeMo SMART for its Sunbeam, Crock-Pot, Mr. Coffee and Oster brands.

"As smart devices become more prolific in the home, we wanted to give companies an easy way to reinvigorate traditional product categories with internet connectivity and the ability to integrate with other household devices and cloud-based services," said Jamie Elgie, senior director of product management at Belkin. "JCS is the perfect initial partner because its brands make the exact kind of products our fans have been asking us to integrate with WeMo."

TP-Link Debuts 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter

TP-Link, a global provider of networking products, has released its 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800), which allows users to connect a desktop computer to a wireless network to access a high-speed wireless network connection.

The adapter complies with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n and can access the 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels to provide wireless speeds of up to 450Mbps. The speed is ideal for users seeking a highly robust, bandwidth intensive wireless networking experience for HD video streaming and online gaming.

NETGEAR Announces Wi-Fi Booster

NETGEAR, Inc., a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, today announced the WiFi Booster for Mobile (WN1000RP). The compact, WiFi Booster for Mobile amplifies WiFi coverage for mobile devices in the home by extending and strengthening an existing WiFi signal, giving consumers the ability to enjoy an improved wireless experience on tablets, smartphones and e-readers.

Consumers are leveraging WiFi connectivity at home more than ever before to browse the web, stream movies and play online games on their devices. The NETGEAR WiFi Booster for Mobile improves an existing WiFi signal throughout the home and even outside on the deck or patio, enabling users to move freely around the house while streaming content on everything from tablets and e-readers to smartphones.
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