Archive for May 12, 2017

HP To World: We Have A Fix For That Keylogger That Was Factory Installed

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

HP says it has a fix for a flaw that caused a number of its PC models to keep a log of each keystroke a customer was entering. The issue, caused by problematic code in an audio driver, affected PC models from 2015 and 2016. Here’s what HP had to say via ZDNet:

HP vice-president Mike Nash said on a call after-hours on Thursday that a fix is available on Windows Update and for newer 2016 and later affected models, with 2015 models receiving patches Friday. He added that the keylogger-type feature was mistakenly added to the driver’s production code and was never meant to be rolled out to end-user devices.

Nash didn’t how many models or customers were affected, but did confirm that some consumer laptops were affected.

He also confirmed that a handful of consumer models that come with Conexant drivers are affected.

So if I were you, I’d be checking or Windows Update for a fix to this rather embarrassing screw up. And if it applies to you, download and install it right away.


NHS Hospitals Pwned By Ransomware In Epic Fashion

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

Across the United Kingdom, people were seeing Tweets like these pop up in their Twitter feeds:

The reason for this is simple. National Health Service hospitals (or NHS for short) have been pwned by ransomware in a co-ordianted attack. Here’s the details from the BBC:

Staff cannot access patient data, which has been scrambled by ransomware. There is no evidence patient data has been compromised, NHS Digital has said.

The BBC understands up to 25 NHS organisations and some GP practices have been affected.

It comes amid reports of cyber-attacks affecting organisations worldwide.

A Downing Street Spokesman said Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept informed of the situation, while Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being briefed by the National Cyber Security Centre.

According to cybersecurity firm Foursys The ransomware is holding each computer hostage for $300 in Bitcoin. The malware demands that hospitals pay by May 15, or all the encrypted files will be deleted by May 19. Ironically, this firm manages cybersecurity for 140 NHS sites. Read into that wha you will. Also of note, according to cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, the ransomware was spread through a recently patched flaw Microsoft Windows SMB or Server Message Block service which Windows computers rely upon to share files and printers across a local network. Which implies that they didn’t patch their systems when the patch came out in March. #fail.

This is serious and proof that organizations of all sizes need to get serious about protecting themselves against this sort of attack.

Guest Post: BluePay Asks “Are You PCI Compliant?”

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance is a group of exercises that governors data security across a wide array of credit and debit card payments. Businesses need to abide by the codes outlined by the PCI Security Standards Council in order for their merchant account to stay in acceptable standing.

Every business that accepts credit/debit cards must comply, no matter what processing method they use. BluePay has created a guide responding to some frequently asked questions and uncovering some myths regarding PCI standards.

PCI Compliance created by BluePay

8 in 10 Canadian small businesses are falling far behind the e-commerce curve: PayPal

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are leaving money on the table, reveals an in-depth study commissioned by PayPal Canada.  PayPal’s Canadian SMB Landscape Study highlights that less than only one in five (17%) Canadian small businesses are using payment tools such as electronic invoicing, an online marketplace, or an e-commerce enabled website.

Canadian e-commerce spending is forecasted to reach $42 billion by 2018 and globally this figure is expected to hit $27 trillion by 2020.1 PayPal’s study indicates that Canadian small businesses are not harnessing the power of e-commerce to sell where their customers are shopping – 80 per cent of Canadians shopped online in 2015 2 – and it shows up on their bottom line. Businesses that accept online payments as a complement to their offline revenue stream reported an average revenue of $175,000, which is more than double businesses that operate without online payment capabilities ($80,000). Businesses that only accept payments online reported an average revenue of $150,000.

Low e-commerce usage and appetite among Canadian SMBs

A significant majority of Canadian SMBs are not ready to participate let alone compete in the digital economy. The study shows that 83 per cent of Canadian SMBs do not accept any form of online or mobile payment and 71 per cent of this group said they would never consider selling online.

One of the first steps towards embracing e-commerce is building an online presence, such as a website. Today, only 7 per cent of the Canadian SMBs surveyed have a website capable of processing online payments and 34 per cent of businesses that do not currently accept online payments have no foreseeable plans to build a website at all.

What’s holding e-commerce back in Canada?

Canadian SMBs that do not currently sell online report several concerns that keep them from doing so. Chief among them is concern about providing the same level of service (30%), followed by online fraud (21%), limited understanding of technology (19%), and distribution or delivery issues (19%). Nearly three quarters (72%) of offline businesses claimed that they are notparticularly sophisticated in terms of technology and e-marketing knowledge.

Canadian SMB owners are primarily men above the age of 55

The geographic distribution of Canadian SMB across Canada is fairly even, according to study findings. The majority (67%) of Canadian small business owners are men and 63 per cent are 55 years of age or older. However, these numbers shift dramatically when looking at e-commerce enabled businesses – 77 per cent of SMB owners that accept payments through online and offline channels and 66 per cent of businesses that only accept online payments are under 55 years of age. Multi-channel businesses are the youngest group, with a median age of 44. There is also a significant under representation of women SMB owners. Only one third (33%) of Canadian small businesses are owned by women, and this is consistent across businesses that sell online and those that do not.

PayPal Canada’s Canadian Landscape Study Methodology

Findings are based on a PayPal-commissioned study which was led, designed and managed by Barraza & Associates, with execution and reporting by Northstar Research Partners. This study was conducted between December 10th, 2015, and January 10th 2016, on behalf of PayPal. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadian small business owners were interviewed online. 3% is the margin of error tested at the 95% confidence level.

TravelBird Study reveals the most Instagrammed locations

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

Online travel specialists, TravelBird, have released the Most Instagrammed Tourist Attractions, a study ranking 470 attractions in many countries around the world based on the number of tags on the social media platform. With the image-based application most popular among Millennial users, TravelBird sought to use the information to gain an understanding of how global travel destinations measure up on social media.

The results provide an indepth view of the best travel spots in the United States of America, with two attractions researched in every state. The inclusion of every state ensures lesser known, local gems are represented, as well as popular attractions within the more densely populated states. The same process was repeated in 10 other countries. From these in-depth looks into each country, a master ranking was created, which compares over 400 of the world’s most popular tourist destinations on their Instagram presence.

Disneyland, California and Walt Disney World, Florida were the most hashtagged tourist destinations on Instagram. The thriving party scene of Las Vegas Strip and Mardi Gras placed in the top six, whilst sun seekers made South Beach, Waikiki and Myrtle Beach rank high. Lovers of the great outdoors won’t be surprised to see that The Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park and The Rocky Mountains made the top 15 most Instagrammed destinations in the USA.

To see the full list of Instagrammed Attractions, visit the results page:

Review: 2017 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD – Part 5

Posted in Products with tags on May 12, 2017 by itnerd

So I’ve come to the end of my week long review of the Mazda CX-5. Now, what does it compete against? I’ll start with the usual suspects which are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue. Hyundai Tucson which I reviewed a couple of years ago, Ford Escape and Kia Sportage. But the interior of the CX-5 is above and beyond what’s in all of these vehicles and so are the driving dynamics. Not to mention the exterior looks. Thus I suspect that this new CX-5 will be stealing sales from that group shortly.

My final fuel economy was 9.6 L/100KM’s which is pretty good. I did drive in a mix of city roads and highways, not to mention rush hour traffic. Thus the Skyactiv magic clearly works in the CX-5.

Now the CX-5 GT that I had this weeks goes for $38,495 (freight included). But you can get a CX-5 for $24,900 which is right in the range of it’s main competitors. On a side note, this has been the most read review that I have ever done based on the number of page views that it got over the week. That’s suggests to me that a lot of people are interested in what the CX-5 has to offer, and that Mazda clearly has a winner on its hands. And I suspect that will show in Mazda’s sales numbers shortly.