30% of social network users share personal info with everyone who is online, not just friends

30% of social network users share personal info with everyone who is online, not just friends

A quiz from Kaspersky Lab has found that almost a third (30%) of social network users share their posts, check-ins and other personal info with everybody who is online – not just their friends. This is leaving the door wide open for cybercriminals to attack, as users remain unaware of just how public their private information can be on these channels.

Despite over three quarters (78%) of Internet users having a social media account, the quiz showed a distinct lack of awareness amongst social media users. One in ten (9%) quiz respondents didn’t think people outside of their friends list could be seeing their pages and posts, making it easy for their personal information to fall into the wrong hands, or even be used by criminals for identity theft and financial fraud.
The research found that users are putting themselves in danger when adding friends, with a surprising 12% admitting adding anyone to their list – regardless of whether they know them or not. A third (31%) of users will also accept connections from people they don’t know, if they have mutual friends in common, although this could expose them to more unknown people – even advertisement agents or cybercriminals. When it comes to trusting their “friends”, a quarter (26%) of those surveyed would have no hesitation to click on a link sent by a friend without asking what it is, or considering the possibility that the sender’s account has been hacked.

“Social network users are playing a dangerous game by not being cyber-savvy and essentially giving strangers easy access to their personal details and private information. With social media profiles containing a raft of insight – from birthdays through to addresses and holiday plans – It wouldn’t take much digging for a cybercriminal to find and exploit valuable information, or steal your identity for their own gain. This is even easier if you have unwittingly made them your friend,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

“To ensure your social network sharing doesn’t leave you exposed to danger, Kaspersky Lab advises Internet users to be cautious about whom they befriend and trust on these sites, as all might not be as it seems. If in doubt, don’t accept a friend request or click on a link that you are not expecting. It is also essential that privacy settings within social network accounts are at their highest, to ensure it is only your real friends you are sharing your status updates with,” said Altaf Halde, Managing Director – South Asia, Kaspersky Lab.

LeTV and Aston Martin reveal Internet of Vehicle with the Rapide S at CES 2016

LeTV and Aston Martin reveal Internet of Vehicle with the Rapide S at CES 2016

Chinese internet conglomerate LeTV and luxury sports car brand Aston Martin have revealed the first results of their collaboration — an Aston Martin Rapide S that incorporates the LeTV Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system at CES.

Aston Martin and LeTV signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last month to confirm research projects that include the development of connected electric vehicles through to manufacturing consultation on future electric vehicles.

“After a few months’ efforts, we finished the integration of an Aston Martin vehicle and the LeTv IOV system. We have successfully equipped this supercar brand with over 100 years of history with an ‘Internet brain’,” Ding Lei, co-founder, global vice chairman and China and Asia Pacific CEO of LeTV Super Car, said at the ongoing four day International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

aston-martin-letv-rapide-s-concept

The ideation and engineering of the Aston Martin Rapide S project has developed a new concept for the centre console and instrument panel.

The centre console is now a 13.3-inch high-definition touch screen and the instrument panel is now a 12.2-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) screen incorporating electronic instrumentation and gauges.

The original human-machine interaction (HMI) has also been updated by integrating LeTV’s latest speech recognition technology.

“Aston Martin is renowned for the beauty and quality of its hand-crafted cars. The integration of LeTV advanced connected technologies into this bespoke environment is a natural progression as we look to the future demands of our customers,” Andrew Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, said in a statement.

LeTV first showed this technology in November 2015 and has released a product, using this technology, specifically developed for automotive applications.

Wi-Fi for the Internet of Things gets a name: Wi-Fi HaLow

security 2016 iot

A new low-power, long-range version of Wi-Fi that bolsters Internet of Things (IoT) connections will be dubbed Wi-Fi HaLow, the Wi-Fi Alliance revealed today in advance of CES. Wi-Fi HaLow (pronounced HAY-Low) is based on the pending IEEE 802.11ah specification. It will be used in coming years for everything from smart homes and wearables to smart cities and connected cars where thousands of battery-operated sensors can be connected to a single Wi-Fi Access Point (AP).

The Wi-Fi Alliance, which includes about 700 vendors, expects to launch a certification process for Wi-Fi HaLow products in 2018, officials said. But products supporting the specification are expected to enter the market earlier. The IEEE finalization of 802.11ah is far along and already into what’s known as the technical phase.

Wi-Fi HaLow will operate in the unlicensed wireless spectrum below 1GHz, allowing it to more easily penetrate walls and barriers because of the propagation capabilities of low-frequency radio waves. Its range will be nearly double today’s available Wi-Fi, with some estimates ranging as high as 1 kilometer, a distance equal to 3,280 feet or more than half a mile.

The tradeoff for such extended range with low power could be that 802.11ah throughput will be well below the 7Gbps maximum of Wi-Fi 802.11ac when 802.11ac is enhanced with the maximum number of antennas on an AP.

Wi-Fi HaLow equipment will initially be certified for up to 18Mbps as the highest data rate, the Wi-Fi Alliance said in advance of today’s announcement. The lowest rates will be just 150Kbps, achieved by using a 1MHz channel. To get to 18Mbps, equipment makers will need to use a 4MHz-wide channel. Data rates as high as 78Mbps are possible by using a 16Mhz channel, but the Wi-Fi Alliance is only initially certifying gear with up to 4MHz channels.

Battery benefits

Even so, the slower throughput of Wi-Fi HaLow will make little difference for many of the futuristic IoT applications being envisioned, where sensors are battery operated and usually transmit occasional short bursts of data. Faster throughput makes a bigger difference in high-definition video and other data-intense and persistent applications.

A sensor on a water pump or a water leak detector in a basement would benefit from Wi-Fi HaLow, for example, because the signal could carry a 900Mhz signal through a concrete wall, at low power, to an access point and on to the rest of the network in the cloud.

“Wi-Fi HaLow has a foot in both the consumer and business markets,” said Kevin Robinson, vice president of marketing for the Wi-Fi Alliance, in an interview. “In a smart city, you may want to connect smart parking meters to a centralized access point. The low-power capability for nodes and access points means less power to send transmissions, which means the devices can sweep longer, which is important for a smoke detector or a leak detector. Wi-Fi HaLow will allow devices to run for months or years on their batteries.”

Robinson said upcoming APs will likely be tri-band, supporting HaLow in the 900Mhz band, as well as the older 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Companies and consumers would need to buy equipment upgrades to get the HaLow properties, but he added, “for many people, it will be part of the natural upgrade process for Wi-Fi.”

An additional benefit of Wi-Fi HaLow to developers and industrial users is that the new spec will share many of the same aspects of the existing Wi-Fi protocol, including multi-vendor interoperability, strong government-grade security and ease in setup. In addition, it will support Internet Protocol characteristics natively.

“HaLow will be very familiar to Wi-Fi developers,” Robinson added.

Is Dropbox planning a P2P option? New patent suggests it's looking beyond the cloud

Dropbox

Dropbox has been granted a patent on a new peer-to-peer file-sharing technology that suggests it may be planning an alternative to its existing cloud-based service.

Designed to facilitate file sharing across devices without the need for content to go through its own cloud servers, the new technology promises faster download speeds, Dropbox said.

It can “eliminate bottlenecks, thereby increasing the speed” at which content items can be shared among individuals, Dropbox explained in U.S. Patent Application 20150358297. Cryptographic keys, meanwhile, add security and prevent conflicts during synchronization.

The patent was published last month but only came to light this week. Dropbox did not respond to a request for further detail.

Though the patent award doesn’t mean that Dropbox will necessarily be able to turn the technology into a viable product, it does pave the way for a new service focusing on the transfer of large files, said T.J. Keitt, a senior analyst with Forrester Research.

That, in turn, could help Dropbox make headway with businesses that deal in massive file formats, such as media and entertainment firms or architecture firms that work with large CAD files.

“Dropbox could begin to push into the managed file-transfer space, as they’re giving customers more control over where and how large content is distributed”—all from a well-established interface, Keitt pointed out. “This could allow Dropbox to become a file-transfer standard in some of its well-established verticals.”

BitTorrent in Dropbox’s clothing?

A peer-to-peer service could also have implications for businesses wrestling with data-sovereignty issues following the death of the Safe Harbor agreement.

“It removes Dropbox’s cloud from the conversation, allowing businesses to warehouse their content in places of their choosing,” Keitt noted.

Of course, there are already other alternatives in that space, including BitTorrent Sync. So, Dropbox will have to demonstrate that its new P2P technology is not only competitive but also as reliable as its existing cloud-based offering.

“Before we make any pronouncements on whether this solves the data-sovereignty question, I’ll want to see how they plan to implement this technology within their offering,” Keitt said.

Dropbox also recently announced that it’s planning to add new data-storage sites in Europe this year.

Linksys aims to take the hassle out of home networking with new flagship router, other gear

Linksys CES 2015

As you and your family find yourselves increasingly using mobile devices—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—at home, you might discover that your Wi-Fi network isn’t the blanket of connectivity you once thought it was. As you move from one room to the other, you begin to encounter dead spots where you can’t reliably stream music or video.

So you install a range extender to solve the problem, only to discover that your smart device isn’t always so smart when it comes to automatically switching to whichever wireless access point is generating the strongest signal. Linksys aims to solve that problem with its new MU-MIMO range extender (Linksys model RE7000), which promises to deliver a feature the company calls “seamless roaming.”

Similar technology is already widely used in enterprise hardware, and a Linksys spokesperson tells me Linksys is using standard protocols to pull this off—there’s nothing proprietary here. “The challenge has been getting the protocols implemented in the chipset,” he said. “It’s just a matter of the standards being defined and then rolled out in consumer products.”

What Linksys is promising with this range extender is that you’ll be able to assign it the same SSID as your Wi-Fi router, and your devices will automatically switch to the source that’s generating the strongest signal in relation to where you’re at.

Linksys RE7000 Range Extender

The RE7000, which plugs into an AC outlet, promises to deliver throughput of 1733Mbps on the 5GHz frequency band (with 802.11ac clients) and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band (operating as an 802.11n device). Using a technology Linksys calls Crossband, the range extender will use one frequency band to connect to the router, and the other to connect to the client. It’s also outfitted with a single gigabit ethernet port and can operate as a wireless access point when hardwired to your router.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until springtime to see the RE7000 in action. It will retail for $150 when it does become available.

Linksys AC600 USB MU-MIMO adapter

Linksys WUSB6100MMulti-user MIMO is a terrific concept. As we explained in this earlier story, it enables a router to support multiple clients simultaneously, where older single-user MIMO routers are forced to serve them round-robin style, dedicating a slice of time to each one while ignoring the others. If the time-sharing happens fast enough, you don’t notice it. But when you’re streaming music and video to multiple devices at the same time, the trick can break down.

Nearly every new 802.11ac router supports MU-MIMO these days, but relatively few client devices do, and that can force the router to fall back to using the problematic SU-MIMO. To solve that problem, Linksys will soon bring out its WUSB6100M, a dual-band, MU-MIMO, USB 2.0 Wi-Fi adapter that can deliver throughput of up to 433Mbps to 802.11ac clients on the 5GHz band and up to 150Mbps to 802.11n clients on the 2.4GHz band (because bigger numbers sounds better, Linksys adds 433 to 150 and rounds up to 600). Here again, the new adapter won’t be available until the spring, when it will sell for $60.

A new flagship router

The Linksys EA9500 will be the company’s new flagship Wi-Fi router. It’s a tri-band model supporting MU-MIMO and beamforming, and promising combined throughput of up to 5.3Gbps (1000Mbps on its 2.4GHz, 802.11n network, and 2166Mbps on each of its independent 5GHz, 802.11ac networks. (Fuzzy math again: Linksys rounds up 5332 to 5400 so it can describe this as an AC5400 device.)

Linksys EA9500

The EA9500 will be powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor and it will have an 8-port gigabit switch. Linksys’s press materials don’t mention the number or type of USB ports the new router will have, or whether or not it will support e-SATA storage devices. Linksys will be looking to fetch $400 for this router when it becomes available—this summer.

And a new mainstream router with something extra

If the EA9500 is too rich for your blood, you might find the EA7500 more to your liking. It’s a dual-band model that Linksys says will deliver up to 1300Mbps of throughput on its 5GHz 802.11ac network and up to 600Mbps on its 2.4GHz 802.11n network. It’s a Wave 2 router, like its pricier stablemate, which means it supports MU-MIMO, but it will include a more common 4-port gigabit switch. It will also be outfitted with one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port, so you’ll be able share both storage and a printer on your network. It will go for $200 when it goes on sale in February.

Linksys EA7500

DD-WRT support on the latest WRT routers

Linksys also announced official support for DD-WRT open-source alternative firmware on its WRT1900AC, WRT1200AC, and WRT1900ACS routers.

“With Linksys and Marvel working closely to improve the upstream support for the Marvel CPUs and Wi-Fi radios, DD-WRT can now provide stable and robust support for the modern WRT series of routers in our alternate firmware platform, building on what was started many years back with the first WRT,” said Peter Steinhäuser, Co-CEO, DD-WRT.

DD-WRT isn’t designed for the typical home-networking user, but router enthusiasts prize the alternative firmware for its ability to unlock capabilities in the underlying hardware that aren’t exposed by the default factory firmware.

Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app to get a makeover

For users who prefer a little more help managing their home networks, Linksys offers a free cloud-based router-management service called Linksys Smart Wi-Fi, available with late-model WRT and Smart Wi-Fi-series routers. You can log into your home network using a web browser on your PC or an app installed on your smartphone or tablet (Android and iOS devices) to grant a guest access to the Internet, prioritize individual devices so they get more bandwidth, and perform other tasks.

Linksys plans to relaunch Linksys Smart Wi-Fi in the April timeframe, revamping its user interface and adding several new features. The new version, according to Linksys, will do more to leverage the firmware on the device against Linksys’s cloud infrastructure, to proactively inform the user when something with the router or the network goes wrong, and to suggest improvements in the network’s configuration. New Linksys hardware will feature a new user interface, and the company plans to go back and include the new UI in free firmware updates for older products.

CyberPower Pro Streamer packs two computers in one

CyberPower Pro Streamer

If your day job is playing games in front of thousands of viewers over the Internet then having your stream crash means lost money—lots of it.

Enter CyberPower’s Pro Streamer series, which combines two PCs in one. Call it a desktop “2-in-1” if you want. The lower half of this tower is a liquid-cooled rig with dual GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI and a Skylake quad-core chip.

Up top, CyberPower has cleverly jammed in a second PC using a MiniITX motherboard and a second Skylake quad-core chip. It shares the bottom half’s liquid cooling, and both run on the same power supply.

Your game runs on the lower machine while the one up top encodes the game stream and your webcam feed, pushing it all to Twitch, YouTube, or whatever the new hotness is in real-time game streaming.

CyberPower Pro Streamer

If this all sounds like an overly complicated setup that a single high-end gaming machine could handle, well, that’s where CyberPower says you’re wrong. With professional game streaming officially a thing, it’s a lot to ask of even a high-end rig to run a game, encode it, and stream it—reliably.

Sometimes, the company says, it’s not that a single rig’s hardware can’t handle it, but software conflicts can result from doing so much at once, causing a crash, which means a dead stream.

And when your stream goes dead, half your audience could go away—and not come back. With CyberPower’s Pro Streamer, if you have to reboot or launch a new game on the gaming rig, the second PC continues to stream, and you can hold onto your audience with your witty banter or jumping jacks until the gaming resumes.

CyberPower Pro Streamer

Pro streaming is serious business. If you have 1,000 concurrent viewers, you can probably quit your day job. If you have 20,000 or, say, 40,000 people watching you every day, you’re probably tooling around in a Ferrari.

That’s why CyberPower thinks the Pro Streamer series has a market. The price of the liquid-cooled Pro Streamer 200 is in the $3,000 range, which isn’t bad for a box with two full PCs and dual GPUs. CyberPower says the machines come pre-configured with the streaming software, minimizing the hassle for someone who wants to unbox it, plug in the monitors and webcam, and give up their job as a barista or technology reporter.