Darktrace Cloud Announced by Darktrace

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 16, 2018 by itnerd

Darktrace has today announced that Darktrace Cloud can protect the next wave of cloud computing models, applications, and devices with its multi-award-winning cyber AI technology. The enhanced capability announced today comes in response to soaring demand for Darktrace Cloud and the accelerated adoption of innovative cloud architectures, such as edge computing and IoT data stored in the cloud.

Over 500 Darktrace customers use Darktrace Cloud to defend cloud environments and SaaS applications including Addivant, Innovating Capital, TruWest Credit Union, and City of Las Vegas.

Darktrace Cloud, initially launched in 2016, uses software-based sensors and application programming interfaces (APIs) to model the pattern of life of users and devices to detect even subtle changes to configurations or unusual movement of data.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Darktrace Cloud analyzes rich data flows within cloud workloads and SaaS applications, and:

  • Learns a dynamic ‘pattern of life’ for every user, device and container
  • Identifies vulnerabilities and emerging cyber-threats
  • Offers autonomous response for fast-moving attacks
  • Provides unprecedented visibility, removing blind spots
  • Integrates with all major cloud and SaaS platforms

For more information, download the Cyber AI and Darktrace Cloud White Paper.Darktrace Cloud Announced by Darktrace


ZTE Is Back In Business In The US

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 16, 2018 by itnerd

The title says it all pretty much. All the Chinese Telco had to do is fork over $400 million in escrow, do a bunch of other things to make the US happy and boom! Business is on again. At least that’s the key point in a statement that the Commerce Department in the US says. But the question is will they stay in business. After all the company was thumbing its nose at sanctions aimed at North Korea and Iran. Plus their gear was thought to have backdoors in them. Which in turn led to the suggestion that nobody use their gear. Thus I have to wonder if  we’ll be back talking about this in six months time or less?

Perhaps Apple Has Quietly Addressed #KeyboardGate

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2018 by itnerd

Yesterday, I wrote about the possibility that Apple with it’s new quieter keyboard in their brand new MacBook Pro have addressed the issues around #KeyboardGate without admitting to anything. I also was waiting until iFixit tore one down for confirmation (or not) of that. Well, iFixit did just that and here’s what they found:

Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.

This flexible enclosure is quite obviously an ingress-proofing measure to cover up the mechanism from the daily onslaught of microscopic dust. Not—to our eyes—a silencing measure. In fact, Apple has a patent for this exact tech designed to “prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress.”

I’m sure that is going to interest the lawyers that are behind the three #KeyboardGate lawsuits that have been filed so far. I say that because it’s pretty clear what Apple has done here. Which is deal with #KeyboardGate without saying I’m sorry or admitting any wrongdoing. Because that’s so typically them. I also wonder if people who are getting replacement keyboards as part of Apple’s service campaign are getting these new ones.

Though there is a part two to this story from iFixit:

Tune in next week as we put this membrane through its dust-proofing paces, tear down the rest of the device, and speculate whether this really is a feature—or a secret bug fix impacting millions of consumers.

That should prove interesting. I’ll be tuning in. So should you.

SkipTheDishes delivering 20,000 free ice cream cones to celebrate National Ice Cream Day weekend in Toronto

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 13, 2018 by itnerd

National Ice Cream Day is the best time to enjoy more of what you love. To celebrate the sweetest summer weekend in Toronto, SkipTheDishes will deliver 20,000 free ice cream cones at Harbourfront Centre from noon ‘til nine this Saturday and Sunday, to visitors of all ages.


The brand-new SkipTheDishes ice cream truck is packed full of 20,000 free ice cream cones, to be served all weekend, while supplies last. Bring your friends and family over to the colourful new SkipTheDishes ice cream truck right in front of the power plant building. Summertime is sweet, and a taste of free ice cream from SkipTheDishes on National Ice Cream Day weekend will make it even sweeter.

Opinion: Has Apple Quietly Addressed #KeyboardGate With The New MacBook Pro Keyboards?

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 13, 2018 by itnerd

One of the things that I have a lot of commentary on is the keyboards in the new MacBook Pros that were announced yesterday. Apple admits that they are quieter than the previous generation, but they also say that it doesn’t address anything related to #KeyboardGate. But the way I see it, I think they have taken a run at addressing those issues. Quietly. Here’s why I think that.

Apple rarely admits that it does anything wrong. Thus I think that if they did improve the keyboard to make it more reliable, they won’t tell anyone because they’d have to admit that there was a problem which isn’t their style. On top of that it would be an admission that #KeyboardGate goes beyond a “small” percentage of MacBook users as that’s Apple’s usual thing to do when they are forced to deal with a situation where uttering the phrase “you’re holding it wrong” or something similar doesn’t work. In short, they minimize the scope of the problem when blaming the user doesn’t work.

Plus admitting that they screwed up would likely encourage more lawsuits beyond the three they are already facing.

The only ways that we’ll know will be when iFixit does a tear down and lets us know if there is any physical difference in this new keyboard. But the real test will come when these MacBook Pros make it into the hands of users and we continue to see keyboard related issues, or the noise starts to decrease when it comes to #KeyboardGate.

This should be interesting to watch.


BREAKING: Apple Releases New MacBook Pros

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 12, 2018 by itnerd

Apple this morning released new MacBook Pro models. Here’s the highlights starting with the 15″ models:

  • 6-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8 GHz
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 memory
  • Powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics with 4GB of video memory in every configuration
  • Up to 4TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

And then for the 13″ models:

  • Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz and double the eDRAM
  • Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics 655 with 128MB of eDRAM
  • Up to 2TB of SSD storage
  • True Tone display technology
  • Apple T2 Chip
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

Now a couple of things that I will point out here:

  • You can now FINALLY shove up to 32GB of RAM into one of these notebooks. About time Apple
  • The True Tone display will really make a difference to those in the Photoshop/Lightroom space.
  • The use of the T2 chip which first made an appearance in the iMac Pro suggests that Apple is embracing hardware encryption for the data on the SSD rather than using software encryption. That’s another “about freaking time” sort of thing as hardware encryption has been widely used on the PC side of the fence for years.
  • The use of an i9 processor in the 15″ model is clearly aimed at pro users who really need to crunch numbers or do something that requires a lot of processing power. Though I’ll likely gravitate towards that model as fast processors make everything faster and the bragging rights would be huge.
  • The press release noted “an improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing. ” Could it be that this is a response to #KeyboardGate?

Starting at $1,799 and $2,399 USD, they’re available today. Though I will be waiting for iFixit to do their usual teardown to answer these questions:

  • Is the RAM upgradable? Likely not. But you have to ask the question as that will allow you to make a decision in terms of whether you can live with 16GB or RAM or do you have to max the machine out with 32GB right from the start.
  • What is different about the keyboard? After all, the main reason why I have not replaced my 2015 model is the keyboard is the fact that the keyboard sucks from a typing perspective. Oh, there’s that #KeyboardGate thing as well. Thus I am curious if this is any better than Apple’s previous attempts at this ultra thin keyboard.
  • Whether the SSD is upgradable or not. It was in the more recent models. But I would not be shocked if Apple went away from that because of the use of the T2 chip. If it isn’t, then you have to make a call if you need 512GB or storage, or you have to jump to a terabyte or more.

So, what do you think of Apple’s latest and greatest? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

UPDATE: I just noticed that Apple has stopped selling the base 2015 MacBook Pro. It was there partially because of price point, and partially because there were those who simply didn’t want to live the #DongleLife. Oh yeah, the keyboard was MUCH better than the ones that are part of #KeyboardGate. Now that this machine is gone, it means that you’re going to have to go to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 and live the #DongleLife. And you’ll have to make do with the new keyboards too.

UPDATE #2: A CNet article notes that the keyboards are quieter, but the have nothing in them to address #KeyboardGate related issues. Thus buyer beware as you might be getting a laptop that develops a keyboard related problem.

Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses A Poll That Finds Internet Users Don’t Like Security Measures

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 12, 2018 by itnerd

Researchers of analytics software firm FICO found that majority of Internet users are annoyed with web and phone security measures. Out of 2,000 polled adults, 81% don’t see the need for what they call unnecessary security procedures.

64% of the respondents are not happy about the need for elaborate passwords featuring a mix of numbers, symbols and capital letters, and 71% would rather not deal with captcha codes, as they often have illegible words.

Overall, more than two-thirds of people (71%) think there are too many security measures nowadays, and 58% are irritated about having to remember email addresses to recover passwords. 78% said they struggle to keep track of all their passwords.

“It’s important to provide consumers with smooth, easy customer experience, but at the same time, people need to be educated that security measures are necessary,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN, a VPN service provider. “Hacking, ransomware and phishing are on a historical rise all over the world. People need to use strong passwords and take precautions when going online. However, there are ways to make this easier – for example, by using a password manager.”

More than half of the respondents (55%) said they had been victims of banking fraud.

NordVPN offers easy online security tips to make it easier for consumers to deal with all the security measures while keeping them safe online.

  1. Use a password manager. Perhaps the most basic requirement for any online account setup is using strong passwords and choosing different passwords for different accounts. Weak passwords make it simple for hackers to break into an account. A strong password has a minimum of 12 characters and includes a strong mix of letters, numbers and characters. In order to easily track all your passwords, it’s recommended to use a password manager, such as truekey.com, LastPass and 1Password.
  2. Don’t forget to install the latest security updates. Security updates often contain patches for recent vulnerabilities, which hackers are looking to exploit. It takes just a few minutes, and the update lasts more than a month.
  3. Don’t open anything suspicious you get through email. Delete dubious emails from your bank, ISP, credit card company, etc. Never click on any links or attachments in emails you’re not expecting. Never give your personal details if asked via email.
  4. Back up all data. Back up your data on an alternate device and keep it unplugged and stored away. Backing up data regularly is the best way to protect yourself from ransomware because only unique information is valuable. It’s an easy and fast process with a long term impact.
  5. Use a VPN for additional safety. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware that targets online access points. That’s especially relevantwhen using a public hotspot. However, keep in mind that a VPN cannot protect you from downloading malware. While a VPN encrypts your activity online, you should be careful when downloading and opening certain files or links.
  6. Close pop-up windows safely. Ransomware developers often use pop-up windows that warn you of some kind of malware. Don’t click on the window – instead, close it with a keyboard command or by clicking on your taskbar.
  7. Use anti-virus programs. Make sure you have installed one of the latest reputable anti-virus programs to make sure you are fully protected.