This Is Why New Software Comes With Old Flaws

You are probably wondering why we hear that legacy flaws are still present in new software. Well, the answer is simple. Developers have a habit of reusing old code for most of their projects and the code is not reviewed for all potential flaws, but rather the approach tends to be similar to the slang ‘if it works, then don’t try to fix it’.

This does not mean that developers are lazy. The approach is favourable even by top-notch programmers because of the tight deadlines they have to meet, so time will always be above everything else when shipping new software.

However, this comes at a hefty price. While we hear of many hacking incidents, only a few of them are complex enough to break even the most impenetrable systems. Most of them were done by exploiting the already ‘implanted’ flaws in all software products. Everything except the operating systems can be deemed ‘hackable’ by most people with some knowledge of hacking.

The flaws go so deep that even some government departments are at high risk. Security analyst found out that some software in government departments is still based on older programming languages. But is this the future of programming? Of course not.

Security analysts in the field say that the problems with legacy flaws may likely increase, but they don’t have to. The real problem is that, by focusing exclusively on shoving new software on the market, companies forget about security completely. A better approach here is to split project development into two major components, development and testing, which could work in parallel. This way, a lot of bugs could be fixed and major security bugs flagged before the software hits the market.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of nikopik

GitHub Gets Hit by the Biggest DDoS Attack in Site’s History

GitHub, the popular website used for projects spanning from game engines to security applications and even web app frameworks, is apparently suffering the biggest DDoS attack in the website’s history, which they believe to originate from China.

The attack appears to have started last Thursday and has all its staff working on mitigating the access problems since then. GitHub states that the attack “involves a wide combination of attack vectors,” which “includes every vector we’ve seen in previous attacks as well as some sophisticated new techniques that use the web browsers of unsuspecting, uninvolved people to flood github.com with high levels of traffic.”

“Based on reports we’ve received, we believe the intent of this attack is to convince us to remove a specific class of content,” GitHub says.

Wall Street Journal reports that GitHub’s traffic surge is based on visits intended for China’s largest search engine, Baidu. Security experts told the publication that the vast levels of traffic has paralysed GitHub over the DDoS attack’s duration.

The attack, which leads back to China, apparently targets two specific sections of GitHub. One of them is Greatfire.org, an anti-censorship organization dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”, which releases tools to help Chinese citizens bypass the county’s censorship controls, and the other links to copies of the New York Time’s Chinese language website and other banned domains.

Security specialist Anth@x from Insight Labs believes that the attack was due to HTTP hijacking by replacing some JavaScript files from Baidu with malicious ones, having Block Execution also used in order to prevent looping. The security specialist even goes further and states that non-Chinese users are now also being “weaponized” to target the country’s targets.

“In other words, even people outside China are being weaponized to target things the Chinese government does not like, for example, freedom of speech.” Anth@x posted on Insight Labs.

GitHub’s status updates twitter account has been keeping us updated with the attack’s status. While yesterday they reported that “all systems reporting at 100%. Attack traffic continues, so we remain on high alert.”, about an hour ago, they stated that “The DDoS attack has evolved and we are working to mitigate”.

Baidu apparently denies involvement in the attack and states that it “was not intentionally involved in any traffic redirection”.

Thank you ZDnet for providing us with this information

China Admits Having an ‘Army of Hackers’ to Help with Cyberwars

China has finally admitted that it has cyber warfare units after its government previously denied having any organised cyber warfare elements in an investigation blaming the People’s Liberation Army as being the source for hacking attacks on the US.

Expert on Chinese military strategy at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Joe McReyolds, stated that this is the first time China admitted that it has digital weapons teams “on both the military and civilian-government sides.”

McReyolds believes that China has split its cyber warfare units into three categories, one being the military operational units, another in civilian organisations with hacking authorisation from the PLA, and another “third-party” category, which sounds more like a hacker-for-hire approach.

“It means that the Chinese have discarded their fig leaf of quasi-plausible deniability,” McReynolds said. “As recently as 2013, official PLA [People’s Liberation Army] publications have issued blanket denials such as, ‘The Chinese military has never supported any hacker attack or hacking activities.’ They can’t make that claim anymore.”

Though analyst have always assumed that China was lying about its cyber warfare units, this may be a small step forward to a more transparent PLA. However, the updated version of The Science of Military Strategy came out back in 2013, but it hadn’t been available to foreign experts up until now.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Kickstarter Wants to Hire Someone With Good Common Sense

According to Gizmodo, Kickstarter really is looking to hire someone for their “common sense”. Now for any other company, that would be a very odd position to hold. But for Kickstarter, you can probably imagine why it isn’t. Not too long ago, we reported on the story of a man who intended to crowdfund a date with himself. That’s why they need a “Common Sense Specialist”.

The technical title for this role is in fact ‘Integrity Specialist‘, but you can see why common sense would be a good alternative for “integrity”. They’re asking for someone who can “help moderate our site for appropriate content, tone, and compliance”, but most interestingly, they want the successful candidate to ensure “that our Design and Technology categories are filled with top-notch projects”.

This is obviously intended to avoid terrible ‘projects’ like the “Worst Product Ever Made” Logbar Ring that managed to raise almost $1 Million and did pretty much nothing. Enjoy a hilarious review of that ‘product’ below.

Source: Gizmodo

Yahoo Starting to Add User Encryption to Its Email Service

Yahoo has announced that it will offer end-to-end encryption for its email services. The recent change seems to have been triggered by Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, more specifically the revelation and extent to which hackers exploit weak security in companies.

Back in April, Yahoo has hired Alex Stamos, a respected security researchers, to help with improving the company’s security measures. Since then, Stamos has made some tweaks to ensure that the NSA or other intelligence agencies won’t be able to easily crack its emails. Now, Stamos is said to have revealed a new security addition to the Yahoo email service at Black Hat in Las Vegas.

It is said that Stamos plans to enhance the company’s email security service with an end-to-end encryption, which will be rolled out this fall. Yahoo plans to tweak the end-to-end encryption plugin that Google has developed, having hired privacy engineer, Yah Zhu, to help with its development.

“If an activist in Sudan wants to email a human rights organization’s gmail address and they have encryption set up for it, it will automatically detect that and offer them the option to encrypt,” said Stamos

Zhu has attended a mathematics conference this year in order to get cryptologists and mathematicians to consider the civil liberties debate around the NSA and dissuade them from joining the agency.

In terms of the actual security measure, it is said that the subject line won’t be encrypted, but the content of the message will. Neither Yahoo nor others can view the message if intercepted during transit.

“Privacy is much more effective as a selling point than it used to be,” said Stamos. “It’s still not a great selling point but it’s getting better.”

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information

PC Specialist’s Latest TV Ad Campaign Launches Today

When it comes to getting your name and brand out in there in the wide world, we typically see system integrators and computer hardware vendors advertising their presence through online ad campaigns on websites such as ourselves and through printed press such as tech magazines. There is, however another method of advertising that can reach a far greater audience in a fraction of the time that it takes a printed advert to get noticed – this is of course TV advertising.

Following their formation in 2003, PC Specialist are one of the few specialist vendors and system integrators out there to have used this method to reach out to the most people in the UK for entertainment purposes at any one time. With PC Specialist now topping the charts as the UK’s biggest and most successful system integrator, they are today launching their third TV advertising campaign to once again push their brand out to the UK market and will be seen on a number of channels including Channel 4. To assist in the production of the advert, PC Specialist has teamed up with Asus and Intel on the hardware side along with Ubisoft and EA on the gaming side to produce a thirty-second clip that coincides with the launch of two of the biggest games for 2014 – Titanfall and Watch_Dogs.

If that is not all, we are working closely with PC Specialist this year to bring to you reviews on some of the best gaming systems that they have to offer, be it a budget gaming system or a no reservation top end rig and this started off last week when I had a look at their mid range Vanquish 230XT. Whilst we are eager to see the advert appear on the TV ourselves, PC Specialist have been kind enough to upload the advert to Youtube for the world to see and share their support for this award-winning team.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_t7UEbHEOA[/youtube]

PC Specialist ‘Vanquish 230XT’ Gaming System Review

Introduction


When browsing through the countless pre-built systems that are on offer from the likes of Overclockers UK, Scan, CyberpowerPC and PC Specialist as we have here today; most of the time we find users spending on average around £1400-1600 (~$2300-2700 USD) for their new gaming rig and whilst you do get a great amount of power for your money, we do wonder how much extra pixel pushing power do you really get from a system that is around 20% cheaper to buy. Obviously there are going to be some obvious differences in the systems specification and this mainly includes the motherboard, processor and graphics card; but are you really getting 20% extra performance for your money or is it worth spending that bit less and spending that extra cash on a better monitor for example?

With the number of system integrators in the UK slowly increasing, staying one step ahead of the competition in terms of pricing and quality is a never-ending battle. Each company out there has their own little twist on what makes a great system and in the case of PC Specialist, it’s not just the system that you are paying for – customer service is important as well. Since we took our first look at one of PC Specialist’s budget gaming systems; namely the Vanquish X200, back in the first half of last year, we have come to learn that offering a top rate of customer service from the pre-sales end of the line right through to after-sales technical support is of a high priority to this devoted team of enthusiasts. Not only is this a passion driven business, but the extra care that they put into their systems does not constitute to a hefty price tag and it soon becomes clear that the price is far more justifiable with all the hidden extras that you get included – as standard.

The Vanquish 230XT that we’ve got in today comes with a delivered to your door price tag of £1137.00 inc VAT and inside it packs a strong mix of mid-to-high range components that have a better bang-for-buck appeal to them over some of the top end components that we see out there on the market today. Built onto an Asus Z87-A motherboard we have an overclocked and water-cooled quad-core 4670k running at 4.2GHz, teamed up with 16GB of 2400MHz HyperX Beast Memory from Kingston and an AMD R9 280X graphics card ready to deliver a joyful gaming experience. On top of all of that we get a 120GB HyperX 3K SSD and a 1TB hard drive for all of your games and media content to go on and all of this is packed into a budget friendly 230T mid-tower chassis from Corsair.

Bundled into the shipping box alongside the chassis, we find a smaller box inside of which PC Specialist include all of the extra accessories that one would typically find inside the box of each individual component used – after all, you are paying for all of these little extra accessories , and should you wish to upgrade one or two bits at a later stage you may find yourself in need of something that’s in this box.

PC Specialist Vortex IV X780 Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


Gaming away from home is definitely becoming more and more popular, with eSPORTS rising up and consumers living in a mobile lifestyle, and this is a perfect place for a desktop replacement notebook that allows you to play some of the most extreme games on the planet, while on the move.

Generally speaking, if you want to play extreme games like Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light, then you’d be restricted to a fully fledged desktop system with enough power to deal with anything that you throw at it, but this has all changed over the past couple of years. More notebooks are being released that can rival these power hungry systems and still incorporating powerful processing power and extreme GPU performance.

The new notebooks that are hitting the market are making the divide between desktops and notebooks in terms of performance so fine that they are now overlapping by quite a margin with many of today’s laptops being produced having far more power than some of their desktop counterparts. Because of this overlap in performance and the number of users who want a compact system to take to gaming events such as iSeries (the UK biggest gaming festival) growing, its more and more common to see people attending these events with desktop replacements as their primary system.

PC Specialist are one of the UKs leading system integrators and since 2002 they have seen multiple awards across many publications for their systems, including the Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig that Peter had a look at a few months ago. The companies dedication towards selecting the best components for each build and the option to customise each and every system they have available with a whole hopst of options means that there are hundreds of ways in which a particular system can be configured. This means that there is with out a doubt a system for every persons needs out there.

After having a look at one of PC Specialists desktop systems, we want to see what their top end laptops have to offer to the table so let’s take a look at the specifications as this system arrived with us:

  • Name: Vortex IV X780
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4700MQ
  • RAM: 16GB Kingston HyperX Genesis 1600MHz (2x8GB)
  • SSD: 120GB Kingston SSDnow V300
  • HDD: 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Black SATA (7200RPM)
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 780M 4GB
  • ODD: 4x BluRay ROM/8x DVD-RW Combo Drive
  • Network:  Killer Wireless-N 1202 Dual Band/Gigabit LAN/Bluetooth 4.0
  • Warranty: 3 Year Silver (1 year collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 years labour)
  • Price: £1,449 inc VAT + Delivery

Click here to buy this laptop with the above spec for the offer price of £1449 inc VAT and delivery

The specifications listed above – even for a desktop system – is highly impressive so to see such a top level of performance packed into a 17.3″ laptop chassis with room to spare is even more impressive. The custom system features components from Western Digital, Kingston, NVIDIA, BigFoot Networks and Intel

Looking at the box that the laptop is shipped in, first impressions are that there is nothing over the top hiding inside, but this is far from the truth as inside is one mammoth laptop that – on paper- can pack one hell of a punch.

Inside the box alongside the laptop, PC Specialist include a driver CD, cleaning cloth, multi-lingual user manual and a PC Specialist welcome booklet. On top of this there is also an 8 cell, 5200mAh/76.96WHr battery and a whopping 230W AC adaptor.

PC Specialist £1000 Gaming PC Giveaway Winner Announced

It’s taken us a while but we have finally managed to go through all of the entries for our PC Specialist gaming PC giveaway that was run last month here.

Now we have to firstly admit, that there was some simply amazing entries and a lot of thought and effort went into each and every post. We did find a lot of “my grandmother’s dog is dying, so having this computer will cheer me up” posts, which we can only “sympathise” with but we wanted something that stood out, and the entries certainly weren’t short of that.

Some that really stood out for us were the guy who put his computer in his bed, and brushed his teeth with it, as well as the entry that was completely in Binary, which when translated gave a simple entry, but the method of execution was simply amazing, so kudos to you.

The one that stood out the most however was from member Roley Martin, purely because he made a rap video with an old style 8-bit backing track.

The video can be seen below and his entry, though it didn’t say a lot, the video pretty much did all of the talking.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idghDbn0pg8[/youtube]

Link to the forum entry can be found here.

At first it seemed as though it was a generic entry, but as the video went on, we heard the eTeknix name and really got into the song and was simply blown away.

Congratulations Roley Martin, and we can only apologise that there can only be one winner, as we appreciate everyones efforts in this competition, but remember we have a lot more competitions currently open here.

All winner(s) have been contacted requesting address details for your prize(s) to be shipped out directly.