Security is a big issue with companies and governments alike having issues raised when it comes to people’s data. With the UK soon to take part in a referendum, the EU is at the heart of debates about security, both digital and physical. It would seem that some think the EU doesn’t quite help security services.
Retired General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, seems to think that the EU wasn’t “a natural contributor to national security”. The EU proposed late last year a set of guidelines for its member countries to follow in cybersecurity, with specialist teams designed to help track and address issues, countries would be expected to share information and help each other learn about the new threat that can be found in the digital world.Digital
Mr. De Backer of the Belgian Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe has stated that members of the EU need to forget the “old concept of sovereignty” and understand that sharing information and pooling resources could only be beneficial to security services, something that is all too true for global systems like the internet.
However, the terms caused a great deal of controversy and appeared to allow partners to intrusively access your data:
“…you also grant Snapchat and our business partners the unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual rights and license to use your name, likeness, and voice in any and all media and distribution channels…”
Kal Penn highlighted the privacy issues in the following tweet:
In lieu of this information, Snapchat has released a statement on this blog which reads:
Snapchat handled this entire situation quite badly especially when you consider how other companies have implemented similar policies and caused public outrage. Their PR team should have known better and conducted things in a more communicative way. Whatever the case, I’m not a Snapchat user, and some might feel the terms are enough to make them uninstall the app. However, I’m pretty sure, Snapchat’s target demographic isn’t majorly concerned about the updated policy.
Amazon Prime already gives you one day free delivery, and also gives you access to everything from their movie streaming service, which will soon include a new show by Clarkson, Hammond and May, as well as one hour delivery in Manhatten, Dallas, Balitmore, Miami and now even London. One of the biggest benefits though was that for the yearly cost of £79, you could share the benefits with friends. This has now changed with the introduction to Amazon household.
Introduced on the 1st August 2015, Amazon Household lets you share the benefits of prime with upto six members. These members are limited though, firstly you may have only two adults connected to the Prime registration. The adults may have their own accounts, but the four children that can be connected to the account do not need an account to be registered as part of the “household”.
It should be noted though that in order to share and enjoy the benefits of Prime both adult account holders “need to authorise each other to use payment cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases at Amazon”. This means that when creating an account with your partner, they will have full access to your card details, as if they were on your account and also anything regarding those payment options. Furthermore the description goes on to state:
“..each adult will be able to copy the payment cards of the other account to his or her Amazon account and use them for purchases at Amazon.”
This means that when you share your account with your spouse or partner, they will have access to not only use your account but also to copy over your card details. The change in the system means that sharing it with your co-worker may not be the best course of action, and there may even be partnerships or relationships where avoiding this deal may be the best course of action. Sadly any future sharing will use this new system, but if you were sharing a prime account with someone before August 1st you can still use the old system, for now at least.
What do you think about Amazon Household? Is it a step forward or does it just open up problems for users and Amazon alike?
Computex 2015 – With all the experience Synology has within the area of networking, it was just a matter of time before we saw more than just NAS and NVR units from them.
The newest product out of the house of Synology is the RT1900ac router that already scored the golden Best Choice award at Computex.
With the Synology RT1900ac router, you get a familiar looking yet fresh and intuitive web interface as well as great network coverage. The RT1900ac us a dual-band router using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, 3×3 MIMO streams and transfer speeds up to 1900Mbps with the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac networking support.
Not only do you get a great looking high-speed router, you also get great storage abilities and sharing. After all, Synology has its main area within storage. Connect high-speed USB 3.0 devices and memory cards directly to your router and share the content without the need for any other devices.
Hardware is one part of a router and the software has to follow. It does that with every setting you could want from a router, starting at normal traffic control, moving over parental controls, as well as a QoS system for traffic control.
The beamforming technology helps to bring the signal to even the furthest corner of your household so you don’t lose connection just because you walk away from your router.
It is said that a mysterious product dubbed Project Composer has been seen on Product Hunt, an online community website where a lot of new products are shared and discovered. The product has been available for a short time, but long enough for some users to test it before having their access cut off.
Users who were lucky enough to test it say that Composer is a note-taking tool that allows for multiple users to edit and share files simultaneously. This means that Dropbox users would create and edit documents on-the-fly and without the need to use an external document editing tool.
While it was fairly clear that Dropbox accidentally leaked its project online, the company chose to deny and comment on it… at least at first. Dropbox’s head of product, business and mobile, Ilya Fushman, has confirmed that Composer is indeed one of the company’s new products that is about to hit the market.
“We’re always testing new products. We always have a bunch of stuff we’re working on — and this is one of them,” Fushman told Business Insider.”We’re excited it’s got us on Product Hunt. I think you’ll see us come out with some other stuff in that space,” he added.
However, Fushman did not provide an exact release date for Composer, stating that Dropbox usually tests its new products with thousands of customers before officially releasing it, a strategy that helps the company make sure it has the right market fit.
“We want people to use them and get feedback,” Fushman said. “We might find out that people dont’ like it.” Fushman said.
It was clear that Dropbox was going to make a document editing and collaboration tool sooner or later. Two years ago, the company acquired Hackpad. a startup that was focusing on similar software such as Composer, and last year’s acquisition included CloudOn, a mobile document editing software.
BBC has been known to be very helpful in providing access to the latest Doctor Who content in the past. Even so, the company seems to take its content to a whole new level of sharing.
10 episodes of the most recent season have been made available via BitTorrent. Now we know that ‘free’ associated with the word ‘torrent’ means a whole different thing on the internet, but BBC appears to embrace the latest content sharing technique regardless of its never-ending debates.
The episodes are said to come with a short intro video featuring the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi, as well as a preview of the first instalment, namely ‘Rose’. Fans who desire to get more than that need to pay $12 to get the rest.
There is no mention regarding their quality, but looking at the previews, it seems to be quite high. The episodes can be streamed directly or downloaded to be viewed offline from here.
Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information
Microsoft is finally releasing a new redesigned version of its Office suite for Mac this year. The new suite is the first refresh of Microsoft Office for Mac since 2011, a 5 year gap during which Microsoft did not release any new version for Apple’s operating system.
The new Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook apps aim to bring the Office suit in par with the Windows version in terms of design and functionality. Being a preview version means that the apps are not perfect. However, Microsoft states that it will only use the user feedback to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, which leads to believe that the final product will be more or less how it looks and feels now.
The top 10 features of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, as highlighted by Mashable, includes a Full Screen View Support, clearly emphasising that Office 2016 for Mac is truly built for Yosemite and can switch from windowed to full screen, compared to its predecessor which could not.
Microsoft has also made some design changes and redesigned the Ribbons, making a consistency between both Windows and Mac version. These are now the same on both operating systems.
The suite now lets you share your documents with easy through the Sharing button in the upper right corner. Documents shared via link can even be opened directly from the email.
Sharing a document with a collaborator now allows you to have Threaded Conversations within comments in Word and Powerpoint. Though it is not as good as in Google Drive, it does show that Microsoft is moving forward into the right direction.
Microsoft has also included a new Formula Builder in its latest version, making it easier to use Excel’s formula functions in your work.
Powerpoint has also received an improvement in terms of transitioning, having Microsoft adding a variety of Transitions and a separate panel for managing animations within the presentation.
One key feature most people using a Mac and frequently require Powerpoint will find extremely useful is the Presenter View, which lets users see the entire slide deck, note, and a timer, while an external display beams the current slide to the audience.
Microsoft has also added a nifty feature, namely Removable Palettes, for those who desire to customize the Office apps view to better suit their needs
The OneNote app has not been forgotten as well, having it come with a Tags function which makes it easy to quickly categorize notes by topic.
Lastly, Outlook has suffered some minor improvements as well, having added the Conversations feature which allows users to sort their inbox by conversations, in addition to date, attachments, priority level and other categories.
Microsoft’s Office 2016 Preview for Mac can be downloaded from here.
Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
In the wake of the recent hacks, President Obama is doing his best to increase data sharing between all major companies and the federal government. He is doing this using the controversial new Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act.
As sighted by an email fact sheet from the White House, the president issued a cybersecurity executive order that creates new framework for “expanded information sharing designed to help companies work together and work with the federal government, to quickly identify and protect against cyber threats.” Many politicians took a much stronger stance toward cybersecurity after the Sony hack last year, and led Obama to spend much of the last two months focusing on the importance of expanded cooperation between government and private companies.
Some leading names in companies who are on board for this change include Apple, Intel, Bank of America, US Bank, Pacific Gas & Electric, AIG, QVC, Walgreens, and Kaiser Permanente. According to the White House, they all use a new cybersecurity framework that could facilitate future data sharing, but doesn’t fully do so now.
Operating separate of the government, some companies are already signing up for full data sharing, including those that are part of the Cyber Threat Alliance, which includes Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Intel Security, and Fortinet. Sony and Microsoft’s video game divisions, as well as many other major game developers have formed the Entertainment Software Association. Rounding out some other companies that are out there offering cybersecurity services are Crowdstrike, Box, and FireEye.
One hindrance to all this coming to fruition, is that CISPA has been passed by the House of Representatives twice, but died in the Senate due to severe privacy concerns. Once fully passed, CISPA will allow for the creation of “information sharing and analysis organizations” to be made up of one or more companies working under the newly created National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center to funnel information to the Department of Homeland Security. Oddly though, this new executive order is not CISPA.
Not to create confusion, but this isn’t Obama circumventing Congress to enable all this to happen. He himself doesn’t have the power to give companies “immunity clause”, a liability protection, which is a major factor in CISPA. Basically, it gives companies the ability to remove all non-pertinent identifying information from what they share, all while granting legal immunity should they fail to do this, thus not holding them accountable when it does happen. This explains how the new cybersecurity frame-work intends to work under Obama’s clause.
Another big difference between the executive order and CISPA itself, is that the order shares information with DHS, a civil organization, rather than the NSA, a military organization. That fact has been used by experts in trying to reduce CISPA’s impact in the past.
Despite the support of some big name partners, Obama’s new framework also has strong opposition from various powerful sectors that are less agreeable to the idea. At an event held in Palo Alto where Obama announced the project, which was attended by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Bloomberg Business reported that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, and Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt declined their invitations. Instead they sent other employees to do some further reconnaissance. This suggested that those companies “are trying to assure their users or customers that their products are secure and that they don’t willingly turn over data to the government” per Bloomberg.
Until CISPA and any other such acts pass through Congress, full information sharing doesn’t seem likely yet, but it has become a major focus for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to gain more access to private information.
Despite never actually being arrested in South Korea, the CEO and founder of the taxi app service could face up to two years in jail in the country.
Essentially, Uber is considered highly illegal in South Korea, thanks to the incredible amount of regulation in the way of becoming a licensed taxi operator. Taxi drivers themselves need to pay an accumulative 70 million won (around $63,477) just to become a registered driver.
South Korean prosecutors have indicted Travis Kalanick without him actually being arrested or appearing in court, with him facing the jail time or a 20 million won (around $18,121) fine. If he has the option of taking the fine, I think we all know which one he’ll go for.
Bizarrely, Uber continues to operate in Seoul, the South Korean capital. It’s even more bizarre when you consider that the authorities in Seoul have essentially placed a bounty on the heads of Uber drivers, offering 1 million won (about $910) to any citizen who has evidence of the service operating. They even have a “dedicated squad” that is “clamping down on Uber drivers”.
Uber has faced a tricky legal path since its inception, with intense opposition from governments and taxi drivers alike. So far, it’s seemed pretty invincible – they give off the impression that they’re above the law. It’ll be interesting to see how this latest story pans out though.
The Delhi transport department has banned the popular ride sharing service following allegations of rape by an Uber driver. The male driver allegedly raped a 25-year-old female passenger on Friday.
Shiv Kumar Yadav was previously arrested for rape in 2011, but charges were dropped following a settlement between him and the alleged victim.
The news comes as a significant blow for Uber in India, a country where the ride sharing app has been growing quickly. India’s economic status combined with the easy business opportunities and subsequent cheap fairs that Uber can deliver, makes the service ideal for the country. The loss of the service in Delhi will bo doubt hamper that growth.
A statement from Uber’s CEO, delivered before the ban, made suggestions that Uber’s plans for background checks were to be more comprehensive than those already delivered by the Indian government in their own “commercial transportation licensing programs”.
“We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.” – Travis Kalanick
Uber has had a pretty rough time recently, with allegations of spying, supposed plans to “dig up dirt” on journalists and opposition from governments and the transportation industry.
This week has been a bad week for Uber, the car sharing service.
First, Uber executive Emil Michael, caused a stir when he suggested paying “professional journalists” $1 million to dig up dirt on other journalists who were saying bad things about the company. Nicole Campbell wrote for the Huffington Post about how she was at a dinner with Emil when she heard his suggestion.
“Emil flippantly said he could hire professional journalists for $1 million to get the expertise to make sure that they could respond when negative articles come out.”
If things couldn’t get any worse, a new story revealed that Uber executives have access to a secret ‘God View’ that allows them to track individual cars and even users of the app. A BuzzFeed reporter said that during a visit to Uber’s offices, she was told that she’d been tracked before her arrival.
“Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber’s New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle — an Uber car — she found Mohrer waiting for her. “There you are,” he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. “I was tracking you.”
The news has led to some suggesting a boycott of the service, while others are questioning the overly hubris or big-headed nature of Uber and its executives.
Twitter has now started publishing your favorite tweets to followers timelines – whether you’re mentioned or not. This is something similar to what we’re seeing more and more of on Facebook over the recent months – and we’re unsure if Twitter is doing this as a trial or as a long term feature.
Twitter hasn’t published any release to the public saying why exactly this change has taken place, but as we said above it mirrors something that Facebook has been implementing more and more of in recent times. All of this is seemingly to keep users actively engaged in the social media companies services, therefore generating them more profit in the end.
What do you use favorites for? You could say we’re in a Facebook dominated social media society – so are you using them as a replacement for ‘likes’ or are you using them to simply bookmark tweets or information for later use? Unfortunately if you’re part of the latter crowd, your bookmarks may now no longer be privately available to only you given this move.
Do you like this move, or are you one of those upset by the changes? As with all Social Media changes, there are often strong opinions on each side of the fence.
Microsoft plans on providing new and more efficient ways for security professionals to effectively and swiftly respond to potential threats. This is why the company has just launched the closed preview of a platform named Interflow, designed with cybersecurity in mind.
The platform is said to have been announced in a Microsoft blog post, having stated that it is a product of collaboration with the Microsoft Active Protections Platform. Interflow is designed to “take industry specifications to create an automated feed of machine-readable threat information that can be shared across industries and groups”. Also, Microsoft has stated that users decide which information or feeds are shared with the communities and even which community is required to be established.
Up until now, Microsoft has been testing the platform internally having its own security teams assessing the threats. However, Microsoft states that the platform is available to other companies as well who desire to test and even participate in improving it. The company has also stated that it plans on making Interflow available to all MAPP groups in the future.
In terms of specifications, Microsoft said that Interflow supports a number of open specifications, such as STIX (Structured Threat Information eXpression), TAXII (Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information), as well as CybOX (Cyber Observable eXpression). Given the latter, the platform should integrate with existing systems and avoid potential data locking.
Given that threats and cyber attacks are increasing in number, security is becoming every company’s main priority and being able to respond to cyber attacks at the same time they occur is the best solution in order to have a greater chance of successfully protecting the company network and systems.
One of the best features of an instant messaging application, besides all of your friends using it, is stickers. Just like Viber, it appears that BBM is starting to offer this service to its users.
BBM is planning to take advantage of the oversized emoticons phenomena to attract more people into using its BBM service, deploying stickers for users to send and receive in their conversations. The packs have names such as “CosCat”, “Gilbert’s Tales” and “Bubble Bot” and will be sold directly from the application, containing around 20 to 25 images a pack.
It is also said that some stickers packs may be available for free, including one of that reworks existing BBM emoticons for the larger new medium. BlackBerry stated that the stickers will enter a closed beta today, however no information about when they will be available to everyone or how to join in was given. Also, BBM received a recent update which added a number of features to Android and iOS as well, including voice calls, support for its Channels feature, location sharing, and attachments.
BlackBerry is moving towards providing a great quality application, full of features, and as of recent stickers as well. However, what it really needs now is users.
When the imminent arrival of the DS214 was brought to people’s attention earlier in the year, hardware transcoding was a hot topic and the news that a NAS with improved on-the-fly video transcoding for mobile devices was also on the horizon only stirred more interest towards Synology. So without any more delay, it’s time to delve into the world of the DS214Play.
We’ve recently seen a few of Synology’s 2-bay systems and prior to this review we had a look at the DS214Se – a special edition NAS that has budget users in mind – giving them a simplified NAS feature list. On the outside, the DS214Play looks nothing like the DS214Se and there is a good reason for this; whilst the DS214Se wants to make its stand in the budget end of the market, the DS214Play is aiming for a more premium look, whilst not hitting the same high prices that we see some 2-bay systems reaching. With the design and build blue-print derived from the DS414 and the little brother to this system the DS214 looking almost identical, the difference as always is what lies inside the system.
The crucial difference with this system over everything else is the Intel Eversport CPU that Synology have chosen. Many NAS options are not capable of transcoding media files – such as video – into another format for mobile devices such as phones and tablets to playback, however hardware transcoding is where the DS214Play pulls its weight. Thanks to the floating-point unit ability of the Evansport CPU, transcoding is a key part of the systems design, giving users the flexibility to watch whatever format of content they like without the worry of file compatibility.
When we look at the performance figures later on in this review we will be looking at the systems performance figures for video playback and processing photo albums as these are the two main area where this system should [in theory] top the charts. This is why we are here, so does it make a difference or is it all a load of pointless sales talk?
The DS214Play brings us a new lease of life to Synology’s packaging with a bright white and green design to the packaging, whilst inside the box there is the usual array of accessories for a system of this size.
Over the last few years, the concept of cloud storage has been growing rapidly around the globe. As you may imagine, there are a large number of applications for cloud storage, be it for a small set of personal files that are kept on the likes of Dropbox or Google Drive; to the hosting of entire websites on cloud servers, but there is one area where many users see a flaw in this concept – security. Before I get on to the reason why some people are put off the cloud, its worth noting that it has a huge number of advantages. Firstly, when we start at the smaller scale options and look at the likes of Dropbox and Google Drive, there is the obvious advantage that you can access your files wherever you are with ease. I personally use both Dropbox and Google Drive for on the go storage and with the added factor of being able to access both services from my Nexus 4 smart phone, I’ve not go to worry constantly about having to copy files to a flash drive so that I can access them at home. With the cloud, as soon as I save them in the respective online folders, they are almost instantly available at home.
Looking at more of a larger scale, there is cloud web-hosting. Now obviously the internet is online, but for the most part, the website that you are accessing, such as us at eTeknix for example, is stored on a single server in a single data centre. Whilst there is a certain element of redundancy with the likes of RAID10 drives setups in place and of course backups are taken care of, what happens when the data centres link is lost to the outside world? It’s quite simple, the site goes down. Downtime for us is something that we dread and cloud web-hosting is built to solve this conundrum. With cloud hosting, a website is stored on a number of different servers that are located in different data centres – the result of this is near 100% uptime.
Bringing all this back down to earth and to the home, I will now refer back to the [above mentioned] worry that many people have when it comes to cloud file storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive – Security. When you upload a file to the cloud, how can you be sure that someone else has not had access to your data? After all you are not able to pinpoint exactly where your files are being stored at any given point. This whole worry over security and knowing where your files are being stored is what has driven Western Digital to come up with a simple, affordable solution. Bring forward the My Cloud.
The My Cloud comes with a very concise set of accessories, there is simply a quick setup guide, Ethernet cable and a power adaptor with UK an EU tips – no bits of unnecessary paperwork to be found here.
Synology have been hot on the market recently with the release of the DS414 4-bay NAS – the latest revision to their popular 4-bay desktop range as it replaces the top-selling DS413. One of the main focus points of the DS414 is the price point for a pretty good level of performance. As we saw it may not be the fastest 4-bay system available, but when it’s priced considerably lower (>£100) than some of its rival units, it’s a bit of a no-brainer for anyone who is focussing more on raw capacity over performance.
Keeping on the same line, every NAS vendor has a few budget units in their product catalogue, however Synology have a more equal distribution across their range in the terms of performance and cost. As a brand Synology are not afraid to advertise that they build cheaper systems that offer lower performance figures and there is a good reason for this. When you take into account the overall cost of a typical 2 or 4-bay system with the cost of hard drives on top can easily tip over the £500 mark (or more if you go far a higher performance system); that price tag for some people does equate to a substantial chunk of money. For a number of users, the cost is simply too much to churn out. Typically those fighting the battle of cost is the home user, especially with today’s credit crunch here in the UK – where the cost of living when marked against your income is a bit out of proportion. As a result the goal is to get as much raw capacity as possible and for as little as possible.
As we’ve seen before, Synology use a simple naming system for their products, and those ending with a ‘j’ are built with capacity over performance in mind. To take things a step further, Synology have now re-written the rule book as they create a 2-bay system that is more budget conscious than ever. Bring forth the DS214Se. In the same way that the DS414 is the successor the DS413, the DS214 is the new model to the DS213 and the Se (Special Edition) marking puts this model in a position where it is even more budget friendly than before.
With the aim of the game keeping the overall purchase cost down, Synology have removed a number of features from the DS214 specification and have been more ruthless than ever. As a result, the DS214Se is going to be ideal for anyone who is a) on a very tight and b) not needing to run multiple features at the same time.
Whilst the systems specification has been cut down, the bundled extras include everything that you’ll ever need. Alongside the NAS, there is an AC power adaptor, Ethernet cable, a quick installation guide, warranty leaflet, and finally two sets of screws for fitting the drives and for holding the enclosure together.
Since the first wireless storage device came into my hands a few months ago (at a time when I couldn’t see the point in having such a device when mobile internet speeds were becoming greater and cloud storage becoming more popular), I’ve seen a better side and more applications for such units and since the market potential that these have.
The MobileLite Wireless that I’m having a look at today is not the first wireless storage device that Kingston have brought market and their ever popular Wi-Drive as shown that such products are sought after due to their ease of sharing files across multiple devices at once, making them ideal for say storing extra movies on for the kids to watch on their tablets on long journeys or for working on documents between multiple devices for businessmen on the go.
Over the Wi-Drive, the MobileLite Wireless has one or two more features to offer, including a built in battery for charging a mobile device such as a phone, and an SD card reader and USB instead of built in flash, giving greater flexibility in the capacity of storage that is accessible whilst on the go.
Inside the box, the unit itself comes snugly wrapped in bubble wrap on top of the accessories the lie underneath. As far as accessories go, there is not much required with a short USB cable for charging the device up and a microSD to SD card adaptor alongside a brief instruction manual to get you started. As noted on the bottom of the box, the MobileLite works with both Andriod and iOS devices and their respective apps can be downloaded from Google Play – MobileLite for Andriod and from the App Store – MobileLite for iOS.