Archive for November, 2017

Infographic: The Top Game Changing Data Trends For 2018

Posted in Commentary on November 30, 2017 by itnerd


Source: Infogix


Guest Post: Cybersecurity Predictions & Trends for 2018 From NordVPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 30, 2017 by itnerd

Online security is seemingly getting more compromised with each passing year. 2017 has witnessed some of the worst security breaches in history – such as the breach of Equifax, which impacted over 143 million clients in the U.S. and abroad. There were also three major state-sponsored ransomware attacks, affecting hundreds of thousands of targets around the world. Unfortunately, it looks like this is just the beginning.

“Ransomware assaults seem to be getting increasingly dangerous,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Besides, system administrators are not ready to protect their networks from more sophisticated breaches. We believe that attacks will only keep getting worse.”

In addition, Internet freedom has been on a steady decline. For example, in the US, ISPs have the right to track customer data without consent and sell it to third parties, and net neutrality is under attack. Other countries are also passing freedom-limiting laws.

Below please find the predictions for 2018 by NordVPN, as well as advice on how to protect oneself.

  1. Increase in IoT attacks. As Internet of Things (IoT) devices become common-use, they will continue to come under attack. When one device is compromised, the hacker can easily overtake the whole system of interconnected devices. One of the biggest fears is that hackers might compromise medical IoT devices, and patients’ information can be leaked. A connected smart home will be another popular target for hackers. What’s more, breached IoT devices can be used in vast scale DDoS attacks, putting down virtually any Internet based service or website.
  2. Increase in travel data breach. Hackers are discovering that travelers who book their trips online share their passport and credit card data, which can be stolen. This marks the move towards specific online breaches, targeting groups of people – such as travelers, online Christmas shoppers, and others.
  3. New, larger ransomware attacks. This year has shown the power of one ransomware attack that can disable hundreds of thousands of computers around the world. Companies are not yet up to speed with sophisticated hacker technologies, so there is a huge risk of new, larger ransomware attacks.
  4. China to ban VPNs. China’s government passed a regulation that requires telecommunications carriers to block users’ access to private, government unapproved VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) by Feb. 1. This would mean that lots of people in China will not be able to reach the global internet, as many sites – such as Google or Facebook – are blocked in China.
  5. The EU is implementing General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR, coming into force in May, is going to introduce stricter rules for companies on storing personal user data and on obtaining customer consent. The regulation will have global reach and force companies to protect user data – being one of the rare examples of governments striving to actually protect data privacy.
  6. Digital Economy Bill in the UK. The UK is planning to pass a bill that requires age verification for adult site visitors. Age verification is done through collecting various data about the user, which poses a huge risk of data leaks and data loss, with sensitive private information being stolen.
  7. Dutch referendum on government surveillance powers. The Netherlands will hold a referendum next year to determine if the law enforcement authorities can have far-reaching surveillance powers. Many privacy activists are striving to overturn the law passed in July, which allows government agencies to collect data from large groups of people at once.

How to secure your web presence in 2018

Internet users can still take matters into their own hands and secure their own computers or smart devices. It’s important not to click on strange emailed links, not to download from unofficial app marketplaces, to always have strong passwords, and to be generally cautious when going online.

It’s also highly recommended to use online privacy tools, such as VPNs, which encrypt all the information that is being shared between the user and VPN server. NordVPN helps secure browsing the Internet with its modern security protocols and no logs policy.

With the decline in online security and privacy, cybersecurity specialists will be in big demand, and companies will be looking to fill new job openings for cybersecurity professionals. Those who want to protect their own data at home, need to learn simple cybersecurity tricks themselves.

Guest Post: Strong Early iPhone X Adoption Positions Apple For Market Leadership

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 30, 2017 by itnerd

By Ian Fogg, senior director, mobile and telecom, IHS Markit

In eight countries, the iPhone X already accounts for over 2 percent of the iPhone active installed base just three weeks after its first availability on November 3. The leading countries for iPhone X adoption are markets with high gross domestic product (GDP) per head such as Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland and Japan.

IHS Markit is able to use its unique measurement of active installed base data to provide very early insights into how the iPhone X is performing, well in advance of the availability of shipment data.

iPhone X does best in markets where iPhone Plus is popular

Countries where “Plus” model iPhones have been successful in the past have a strong correlation with initial levels of iPhone X adoption. Consumers in those markets have a greater interest in larger displays and high-quality dual cameras, as well as the willingness to pay the higher price a Plus model or iPhone X costs over regular-size iPhones.

Despite production constraints, in the markets where iPhone X has launched, initial uptake is very similar to adoption of previous iPhone flagship launches in the same launch period. This indicates good demand for iPhone X and is better than the rumored supply.

In the US, iPhone X adoption after three weeks matched the adoption of iPhone 8 Plus and beat early adoption levels for both the iPhone 8 and 7 Plus. Only the iPhone 7 model had greater initial success. In Japan, initial iPhone X adoption was as good as or better than any recent iPhone launch, and matched the level of the iPhone 7.

Apple will enjoy record-breaking iPhone performance in 2018

We expect Apple will enjoy its best ever year for iPhone. IHS Markit forecasts each of the next four quarters will see increases year-on-year in iPhone shipment volumes, compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, IHS Markit forecasts Apple will ship 88.8 million iPhones — this will be the greatest number of iPhones ever shipped in one quarter.

Apple will need to ship just 31 million iPhone X units for iPhone average selling price (ASP) to exceed $700 for the first time in the iPhone’s 10-year history, assuming total shipments amount to 88.8 million.

iPhone X represents a shrewd strategy from Apple. In a maturing smartphone market, consumers may choose to buy replacement smartphones less often. If so, the higher price of the iPhone X means Apple could gain similar revenue levels and profits at lower shipment volumes. If Apple can increase unit shipments instead, then iPhone X will drive significantly higher iPhone profits.

The full report is available to clients of IHS Markit Smartphone Intelligence Service – Premium and is published here:

Cogeco Peer 1 Unveils A New & Improved Map Of The Internet

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 29, 2017 by itnerd

Cogeco Peer 1, a global provider of enterprise IT products and services, today announced an updated and refreshed version of its popular Map of the Internet app, a 3D visualization of the world’s networks and how they are connected.

Map of the Internet.png

Built as an educational tool for anyone who has ever wondered what the internet actually looks like and how it has evolved, the open source Map of the Internet app for iOS and Androidbrings to life all the networks worldwide that are interconnected to form the internet. Users can explore where Google and Facebook are located on the internet, in addition to ISPs, Internet exchange points, universities, and other organizations that route traffic online, including Cogeco Peer 1.

The refreshed Map of the Internet app has been updated with all new data up to 2017. The data included in the app was collected by CAIDA, an organization dedicated to monitoring and analysing the internet.

Improvements to the app’s interface and camera controls offer a more immersive, enjoyable experience, while network features such as traceroute have been brought back to give users the best possible tools for exploring the Internet. Curved lines have also been added to the global view, which allows users to spin the globe around or zoom in to find the geographic location of various networks.

With Map of the Internet, users can fully explore the structure of the Internet:

  • Zoom and pan to enlarge or rotate the map in 3D
  • Tap on nodes to learn more about them
  • Browse historical data and events that shaped the Internet
  • Perform a traceroute to a node from your network
  • Search for companies or domains you’re interested in
  • Change views to see geographic or hierarchical maps


Learn more about the app and how the internet is connected by visiting:

Why The Guy Who Disclosed The macOS Security Vulnerability On Twitter Did The Right Thing

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 29, 2017 by itnerd

Now that the security vulnerability which was of #EpicFail proportions is fixed, attention is now turning to how it was disclosed. This vulnerability was disclosed on Twitter by developer Lemi Ergin:

Now, people are ripping into into this guy for disclosing it on Twitter rather than following this method for disclosing it, which would have been the responsible thing to do according to many. And those who say that are 100% correct. Responsible disclosure as it is known is a great system for disclosing these bugs as it for the most part works.

Except in this case.

The reason I feel that this is the exception is this vulnerability was quietly discussed on Apple’s developer forums two weeks ago. While Apple doesn’t actively participate in these forums. they do monitor them. Which implies that Apple could or should have been aware of this. But it is entirely possible that this slipped through the cracks. Let’s assume that the latter is at play here for a second. That would explain why this the latest macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 beta didn’t fix this. Because if Apple was aware of this, you’d think they would have fixed this in the beta.

So, from Ergin’s standpoint, you had a unfixed vulnerability that was essentially in the wild because it was being discussed on a pubic form that anyone or any search engine can find. Logic says that someone with ill will could find this at any time and start pwning Macs right left and center via malware or some other means. And perhaps that might have even been in the works for all anyone knows. Thus I am guessing that he decided the only course of action was to make it public via Twitter in hopes Apple would fix it quickly. Which to their credit they did. If you follow this logic chain, you can make an argument that this was the right course of action in this specific case.

The way I see it, the people who report bugs to software companies are the good guys. There are rules like the responsible disclosure method that the good guys follow. But every once in a while, in extreme circumstances and only when it can be justified do the good guys get to break the rules. If Lemi Ergin had not broken the rules, this might have turned out differently as there could have been someone who would have taken this vulnerability and caused real damage with it. Thus if I were you, I wouldn’t rip into this guy, I would be sending him a thank you.


BREAKING: Apple Releases Fix For SERIOUS macOS High Sierra Vulnerability

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 29, 2017 by itnerd

I’ll give Apple credit for coming up with a fix for this absolutely stunning security flaw within a day of it being disclosed. But this is something that should never have happened in the first place. But before I rant, let me get to the fix.

Apple has released SECURITY UPDATE 2017-001 which fixes this issue according to the release notes. All you need to do is go to Software Update to get it. I would do that right now. As in drop everything and update as this issue is that serious.

Now, as I stated before. This should not have happened. Apple has made the news for all the wrong reasons. And by that I mean that the mainstream press and not just people like me are talking about this. I really hope they have learned from this and they pull up their socks and improve the quality of their software as it is really lacking in that department as of late.

UPDATE: Apparently this fix breaks file sharing for some users. IF that’s you, Apple has a new support document that describes how to fix that.


Apple’s Software Quality Has Become A #EpicFail

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 29, 2017 by itnerd

Over the last little while, Apple seems to have gone from a company who can put out quality software to one that at best struggles to do so. While yesterday’s absolutely colossal macOS security hole which allows anyone to pwn a Mac with very little effort is the issue that’s bringing this to the forefront, there are other examples that indicate that Apple’s software quality has been slipping for a while. For example, around the time that macOS High Sierra shipped, there was a zero day bug that was discovered that allowed for password theft. Shortly after that another horrible security hole that Apple had to quickly patch appeared. Both of these flaws should have been caught in Apple’s QA cycle. But clearly that didn’t happen.

iOS users haven’t escaped this as iOS 11 has been a bit of a buggy mess with updates coming out every couple of weeks or so to try and address issues in their mobile OS. But bugs still persist. And some glaringly obvious ones. I’ve personally noticed issues with the mail application where it can misreport the number of unread emails at times, and it gets stuck in a particular orientation (ie. it’s in landscape when you’re holding the phone in a portrait orientation). There are others that I’ve along with others such as Gizmodo writer Adam Clark Estes have noticed. He went on a bit of a rant recently about how bad iOS 11 was. And the thing is, he’s right. Everything he lists are things that should have been caught in the QA cycle. But they weren’t.

In both the examples above, you’ll see that the thing in common was that Apple’s QA cycle isn’t catching some glaringly obvious bugs before they go out the door. That’s shocking as Apple used to be a company that got the details right. At present, they can’t seem to do that. Now I could go on and list other bugs in other Apple products that fit the above pattern of stuff that should have been caught in the QA cycle instead getting out the door. But I won’t. Instead I will encourage you to do a search using the search engine of your choice for terms like “watchOS 4 bugs” or “macOS High Sierra bugs” or “iOS 11 bugs” and you’ll see the volume of things that people are coming across. I’ve been a long time Mac user and I have never, ever seen Apple’s software quality be this bad. Clearly Tim Cook and company have been spending too much time building Apple Park to focus on what got them to the position where they could build Apple Park. Which is putting out quality products that people love. Right now, it seems that Apple has forgotten about the quality part, and that is an #EpicFail on their part.