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AfterDawn: News

CCleaner disaster: It was a targeted espionage attempt against major tech firms

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 Sep 2017 3:15

CCleaner disaster: It was a targeted espionage attempt against major tech firms At the beginning of this week, it was reported that award-winning, hugely popular computer cleaning software CCleaner had been bundled with malware for almost a month with its official installer.

Shortly after, it was revealed that the incident wasn't caused by mismanagement at the Piriform, company behind the software, but a "sophisticated" hack that had managed to gain access to Piriform's development environment.

Now, Wired has more details of the incident. According to Telos, a security company who found the malware originally, the malware didn't care much about Joe Average's computer, but instead, filtered the infected computers and tried to find out whether it had gained access to specific tech firms' networks. Those networks include at least 18 large tech companies, including Intel, Samsung, Microsoft and Cisco (Telos, who found the malware, is a subsidiary of Cisco).

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AfterDawn: News

Tesla abandoned Nvidia? Developing a chip with Nvidia's rival AMD

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Sep 2017 13:05

Tesla abandoned Nvidia? Developing a chip with Nvidia's rival AMD The electric car company Tesla has worked with Nvidia for a long time. Nvidia has delivered chips to current Tesla models with autopilot features, but Elon Musk has wanted to get more rule over the development of the chips.

According to new information acquired by CNBC, Tesla is trying to become more independent when it comes to autopilot enabling AI processing. Tesla is looking to develop their own chips that are custom made to their AI needs, and provide energy efficiency while tackling specifically the problems of self-driving.

However, while this might mean that Nvidia will be tossed aside altogether, Tesla will still need some help manufacturing the chips.

Now the kicker is that Tesla has made a deal with AMD, the main rival of Nvidia, who is perhaps less known for their AI prowess than Nvidia. However, AMD is now offering their architecture and other technologies to be used in Teslas in-house chips and self-driving concepts.

Leading the Tesla AI chip development is a former Apple and AMD chip architect Jim Keller.

According to CNBC, the first implementation of Tesla's in-house AI processor to be used in self-driving has already made with the help of AMD's manufacturing and intellectual property.

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AfterDawn: News

Google signs a billion dollar deal with HTC

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Sep 2017 10:26

Google signs a billion dollar deal with HTC As expected, Google and HTC have signed a deal marking a new era in cooperation between the companies. However, HTC was not acquired but instead they signed a billion dollar partnership.

This will allow Google to use HTC's patented technologies and transfers some HTC's employees to Google. Of course the team responsible for Pixel is part of that, and they have already been working with Google now for many years, but this deal will solidify that partnership.

They will be from now on working for Google, literally, and get paid by the search giant. That also means that Google can reallocate any number of engineers to other products, be it Chromecast, Google Home or any number of new and unannounced ones.

This might mean bad news for LG, who is rumored to be again the second manufacturer of the Pixel phones. LG has made the Pixel XL and rumors, detailing the phones, have it that this years Pixel 2 XL will be theirs as well. As Google now has essentially manufacturing to themselves, that might change.

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AfterDawn: News

HTC is halting shares, Google takeover imminent

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Sep 2017 14:15

HTC is halting shares, Google takeover imminent The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has been looking for a buyer for years. Year after year their business has declined, and the past few months have been the worst in over a decade.

There have been some good news, though, for them. About two weeks ago rumors had it that HTC is close to signing a deal that could possibly mean an acquisition. The other participant in the negotiations was rumored to be no other than Google itself.

As the negotiations were said to be close to being finished, one would expect some additional information around this time, right? Well, it seems that the Chinese sources might have indeed been right.

HTC has now informed, according to the Twitter account of Bloomberg columnist Tim Culpan, that it'll be halting trading shares starting tomorrow pending a major announcement.

The rumors previously didn't detail if Google would indeed be taking over the entire company, excluding VR business which isn't for sale, or if they would become a strategic partner. Either way, it would probably be considered a "major announcement."

HTC is the manufacturer of Google Pixel and the recently leaked Pixel 2 that will debut on October 4th. HTC was also the first smartphone manufacturer to build an Android phone, HTC Dream (or T-Mobile G1).

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AfterDawn: News

Watch Series 3 has LTE connectivity problems: reviewers

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Sep 2017 13:00

Watch Series 3 has LTE connectivity problems: reviewers Several reviewers have found a problem with the new Apple Watch Series 3 and LTE connectivity, which Apple says it is investigating.

The ability to connect directly to an LTE network and break free from iPhone tethering was probably the biggest selling point of the Apple Watch Series 3 unveil last week. It promised a smartwatch that can stand on its own and work more or less anywhere an LTE-capable cell phone could.

However, according to reviewers at The Verge and the Wall Street Journal, the new Watch seems to have a problem with LTE connectivity. Writing for The Verge, Lauren Goode found that the device frequently struggled to connect to LTE and would often connect to unknown wireless networks.

In a review for the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern summed up the problem in the headline: Apple Watch Series 3 Review: Untethered... and Unreliable.

This is bad news for those who would like the smartwatch but had previously held off a purchase because of the required tethering.

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AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Warner Bros reveals new 'Tomb Raider' trailer

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Sep 2017 12:51

WATCH: Warner Bros reveals new 'Tomb Raider' trailer Lara Craft to return to the cinema screens with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the leading role.

Warner Bros has released the first official trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Fifth Estate, The Danish Girl) replaces Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara Croft, as she explores an island off the coast of Japan while investigating the mysterious disappearance of her father.

Vikander is flanked by Dominic West (The Wire's 'McNulty', 'Theron' in 300) and Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight), and is directed by Roar Uthang. Geneva Robertson-Dworet penned the screenplay. This movie adaption is based on the 2013 reboot of the video game series.

The trailer teases plenty of action as Croft battles an organization called "Trinity" and discovers a mythical tomb her father had previously revealed.

The reaction to the trailer has been mixed so far, which is understandable given Hollywood's abysmal track record of adapting beloved video game franchises for the big screen.

Check out the trailer.

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AfterDawn: News

Xbox One X pre-orders open, 130 titles now enhanced for new console

Written by James Delahunty @ 20 Sep 2017 12:35

Xbox One X pre-orders open, 130 titles now enhanced for new console You can now pre-order for the Xbox One X console ahead of its launch this holiday season, and Microsoft has expanded the list of titles that are enhanced for its upgrade.

Pre-orders of the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition kicked off in August and produced record setting sell-outs in the first five days. Now, gamers can pre-order the standard edition Xbox One X from local retailers around the world, or from the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft also announced that the full list of new and existing titles that have been enhanced to take advantage of the Xbox One X' new hardware has grown to 130 strong. It includes a large variety of games like Far Cry 5, L.A. Noire, Greedfall and Okami HD.

There is a full list of enhanced games with more details available at Xbox.com.

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AfterDawn: News

This is what the upcoming Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look like

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Sep 2017 11:44

This is what the upcoming Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look like Now that Apple has unveiled their new, albeit mostly leaked, smartphones it is perhaps time to move on to other major players in the field. Google remains to be the only one that hasn't yet announced this years flagships.

In Google's case the upcoming phones will be the only phones of the year. And they aren't even manufactured by the company themselves. Nevertheless, if you want a Google phone, one would think you'd want it designed by Google. And that is exactly what you are getting with the Pixels.

However, considering the design of last years Pixel, it doesn't seem like you are getting a radical, or even that attractive, piece of equipment with Pixel. And unfortunately it seems to be the case this time around too.

A leak has revealed exactly what the upcoming Pixel 2 (below) and Pixel 2 XL (above) will look like, and they haven't changed much in a year. With the new colors it does spice up the design a little bit but it's still essentially the same dual design in the back.

The leak, detailed by Droid-Life, also reveal the prices. For the smaller Pixel 2 they are $649 (64GB) and $749 (128GB), and larger Pixel XL is $849 for the standard 64GB version and $949 for the 128GB model.

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AfterDawn: News

Google's cheaper Home revealed in a leak

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Sep 2017 11:20

Google's cheaper Home revealed in a leak After the success of Amazon's assistant-in-a-can, better known as Echo, several competitors have joined the home assistant domain with their own smart assistant powered speakers.

One of the more high-profile ones is of course Google whose Google Home is effectively, in terms of functionality, a duplicate of Amazon's Echo. It's a smart speaker that has all the functionality of Google Assistant, found on the Android mobile platform.

Now, it has been revealed, that Google is even going to expand the home assistant selection with a new Google Home Mini, just like Amazon, mind you, with Amazon Tap and Amazon Dot.

Droid-Life has released pictures of this smaller Home that is expected to be released on October 4 alongside the new Pixel 2 smartphones.

According to their information the new Mini version costs $49 and comes in three colors, Chalk (grey), Charcoal (black), and Coral (red). Google sells the original Google Home for $129.




AfterDawn: News

Amazon has a new Fire HD tablet for $150

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Sep 2017 15:03

Amazon has a new Fire HD tablet for $150 Amazon has unveiled a refreshed version of its Fire HD 10 tablet. The online retailers improved 10-inch tablet has got more storage and performance but a reduced price tag.

The new Fire HD 10 retails starting at $149.99 and includes doubled storage capacity. Not only is the storage increased to 32 gigabytes but there's a new MediaTek octa-core processor that is said to improve performance up to 30 percent.

Just the price drop of 35 percent is a significant improvement on value. Add in the improved performance and storage and you've got a pretty good deal. Fire HD 10 features a 10.1 inch Full HD display, 2 gigabytes of RAM, two cameras (VGA front-facing, 2MP rear-facing), 3.5 mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, and a microSD slot for expandable memory up to 256 gigabytes.

However, one has to remember that Fire HD 10 is not a full-fledged Android tablet but for Amazon customers, and especially Prime members, it is certainly worth a look.

The new versio can already be preordered on Amazon but it'll be released on October 11. There's also a 64GB model for $189.99. Both are available in black, blue, and red.

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AfterDawn: News

Piriform: CCleaner malware disaster was caused by a hacker

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 Sep 2017 5:22

Piriform: CCleaner malware disaster was caused by a hacker It was revealed recently that super-popular computer cleaning software CCleaner included malware with its official distribution package. Now, the details of this disaster have been unfolded.

In Reuters article the author company behind the CCleaner, British Piriform, tells about the incident. According to them, a hacker had breached their systems sometime back in August and gained access to resources that allowed hacker to inject malicious code to the official distribution package, while still having the official CCleaner security certificate attached to the package.

Malware was distributed with CCleaner version v5.33 that was released in August. According to Piriform, more than 2 million users had downloaded that specific version and were therefor breached.

Malware itself only worked in 32-bit Windows versions and required administrator right in order to run properly. It collected information about the victim's computer, victim's installed software and files. According to Piriform, malware had elements to download more software and install them, but those elements weren't initiated by the malware before its detection.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Official CCleaner distributed malware with its installer

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Sep 2017 9:29

Official CCleaner distributed malware with its installer Super popular PC cleaning program CCleaner received a serious blow to its reputation as it was found that the software's orfficial installer distributed malware.

The malware-infected CCleaner had a version number v5.33. Luckily though, the malware only affected 32-bit Windows systems and required administrator rights for the user before installing itself to the PC.

CCleaner's author, Piriform, is owned by security company Avast, making the finding even more embarrassing. Piriform now instructs its users to uninstall the software and to download the newer, clean version of the software. Clean versions have version number v5.34 or higher.

Malware was found by Cisco's security company Telos.

You can download the latest v5.34 CCleaner from our servers:

Download CCleaner v5.34

EDIT 19th of Sep, 2017: The malware incident was caused by a hacker




AfterDawn: News

Chrome will tackle annoying autoplay videos on websites

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Sep 2017 0:34

Chrome will tackle annoying autoplay videos on websites Google Chrome will soon tackle annoying autoplay videos on websites with new browser features coming next year.

Autoplay videos can be extremely annoying when browsing the web. You load a webpage to read an article, and suddenly it is there in your face; an unrelated video that is playing full blast in your browser window. For laptop users, this is particularly frustrating.

Chrome developers have heard the complaints and will roll out new features in the browser across Desktop and Mobile that will tackle the problem. The browser won't allow autoplay videos that play sound, unless the user has "indicated an interest in the media."

Users will be able to mute specific websites permanently in Chrome 63 too, according to Mounir Lamouri.

On Mobile, if you have added a website to your Home screen, then autoplay videos will be fully allowed by the browser. On Desktop, autoplay will be allowed for websites you typically watch a lot of media content on.

Read more: Chromium Blog




AfterDawn: News

WATCH: SpaceX shows how not to land a rocket booster

Written by James Delahunty @ 18 Sep 2017 0:21

WATCH: SpaceX shows how not to land a rocket booster SpaceX shared an amazing video this week that can only be described as an official blooper reel for its Falcon 9 landing attempts.

The rocket firm routinely lands the booster (first stage) of the Falcon 9 rocket after it is separated during flight. SpaceX will attempt a landing except in cases where the payload is too heavy to leave enough fuel for the burns required for re-entry and landing.

It wasn't a success from day one however. Before SpaceX made landing an orbital rocket booster a routine operation, it witnessed its boosters explode ("rapid unscheduled disassembly!") and violently crash to the Earth for one reason or another. With each failure, the rocket firm gained valuable information to help to fine-tune the landing process.

While it probably was frustrating for SpaceX employees each time something went wrong, it has led to one spectacular video showing all the ways SpaceX recommends that you don't try to land a rocket booster!

Have a look at what they came up with!




AfterDawn: News

The Pirate Bay annoys its users - JavaScript takes all the CPU, mines cryptocoins

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Sep 2017 8:27

The Pirate Bay annoys its users - JavaScript takes all the CPU, mines cryptocoins Infamous The Pirate Bay has been struggling with its revenue, as the advertisers and ad networks have largerly disappeared from the site due its gray legal status in most countries. Now, the site has experienced with new kind of revenue stream that has annoyed its users.

TPB began an experiment - that is apparently due to last for 24 hours - whereby the site's source code contains a JavaScript that uses its users' computers to mine cryptocurrency Monero.

The script uses all of the excess CPU power of user's computer, making the use of even the browser a struggle. According to the company behind the script, Coinhive JavaScript Miner, the script shouldn't be initiated without user consent. However, according to Neowin, The Pirate Bay does exactly that.

Best way to avoid the situation is to use other torrent sites or to block the script by using NoScript browser extension.





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