Archive for August, 2018

Windows 10 October 2018 Update Announced By Microsoft

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 31, 2018 by itnerd

The next major update for the Windows 10 operating system has been announced by Microsoft today. Dubbed the Windows 10 October 2018 Update and announced via a blog post connected to Microsoft’s presence at IFA in Berlin, it will bring among other features the following to the table:

  • A dark theme for File Explorer. Because dark modes are now a thing seeing as macOS Mojave has a dark mode.
  • A new snipping experience
  • A cloud-powered clipboard
  • Support for extended line endings in Notepad
  • integration with the Your Phone app
  • New web sign-in and fast sign-in features
  • A mixed reality flashlight feature
  • SwiftKey in the touch keyboard

It should be out by the end of October if the stars align and be punted out to the 700 million devices that Microsoft claims are running Windows 10. Hopefully it will better than the April 2018 update which was plagued with problems when that shipped.


Urban Armour Gear Teams Up With Jason Maloney For Limited Art Series iPhone Cases

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

Urban Armour Gear has teamed up with Jason Maloney for a limited edition collaboration. Inspired by the bright colors of video arcades in the 80’s, renowned artist Jason Maloney brings his edgy style to phone cases in this limited edition production.

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Urban Armour Gear x Jason Maloney Limited Art Series Features:

– Available for iPhone 8/7/6S, iPhone 8/7/6S Plus and iPhone X

– Armor shell & impact resistant soft core

– Air-soft corners for cushioning impact

– Feather-light composite construction

– Oversized tactile buttons & easy access to touchscreen and ports

– Scratch resistant skid pads and screen surround

– Apple Pay & wireless charging compatible

– Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6)

– MSRP: $49.95

About Jason Maloney:

Jason graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from California State University, Fullerton, but his connection with art began long before he received his diploma. As early as five years old, Jason began drawing and his fascination with ’80s skateboard graphics and video game graphics continued to ignite his passion for art.

Jason eventually landed a job with Disney as a Scenic Artist and then moved on to Hurley, where he worked as the Director of Art for over 8 years. During his time at Disney and Hurley, Jason continued to exhibit his artwork in major museum and gallery exhibits along with painting public murals world wide.

Jason is currently focusing on taking his ‘Tippsy the Elephant’ to new heights. His iconic character ‘Tippsy the Elephant’ was originally just a doodle on a napkin in the late 90’s. Soon after, a whole cast of characters followed. Since then, Tippsy and his friends have evolved into a fun brand of art, accessories, and apparel available exclusively at select retailers around Orange County, New York, and

Next Month on The Roku Channel….

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

The Roku Channel officially launched in Canada in July and has since been offering consumers free entertainment on the Roku platform. Each month, The Roku Channel features a selection of movies and TV shows from major studios, alongside an aggregated selection of entertainment from existing channels on the Roku platform.

Here are some of the highlights for September:

Chicken People

Chicken People is a funny and uplifting look at the world of show chickens and the people who love them. Starting at the largest national poultry competition, likened to the Westminster Dog Show for chickens, Chicken People follows three top competitors over the course of a year as they grapple with life’s challenges while vying to win the next year’s crown.


Melissa McCarthy plays a desk-bound CIA analyst who volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.

It Had to be You

A whimsical romantic comedy about a neurotic jingle writer who’s always dreamt of a big and exciting life, ‘It Had To Be You’ explores the choices women face today while satirizing cultural expectations of gender and romance.

Also keep an eye out for:


If You Get Your Email Via Oath, They May Be Trolling The Contents Of Your Email To Sell To Advertisers

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

There’s a story (assuming that you can get past the paywall) in the Wall Street Journal that Oath scanned millions of Yahoo/AOL mailboxes for things like receipts, invoices, loan agreements and such which they can then use for customer profiling purposes. Of course then those profiles get sold to advertisers so that Oath can make money. And Oath isn’t apologizing for this. Doug Sharp, VP, Data, Measurement & Insights at Oath had this to say:

Email is an expensive system, I think it’s reasonable and ethical to expect the ‘value exchange,’ if you’ve got this mail service and there is advertising going on.

Translation: If you’re not paying for the service, you are the product.

Now, frequent readers may be saying “Wait…. That sounds familiar.” And it should. This was the chief reason that Canadian telco Rogers faced an epic backlash earlier this year when the terms of service changed for Rogers customers to allow Oath who serves up email for Rogers to scan the inboxes of those who used Rogers e-mail addresses. Now while this blowback was addressed in Canada (Mostly… The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is still looking into this and a further smackdown may yet inbound), the rest of world now has to deal with this. That’s why when this issue flared up in Canada, I offered up this option and this option in terms of email providers that don’t demand that you become the product. Thus if this whole idea of Oath reading your email bothers you, and you don’t want to be bothered with turning off the scanning on the relevant AOL or Yahoo Privacy pages, you can go elsewhere and deprive Oath of some money. .

Donald Trump’s Claims That Google “Suppresses” Conservative Voices Is Utter Nonsense

Posted in Commentary on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

Yesterday US President Donald Trump went on one of his famous Tweetstorms. But this time it was about Google and the quality of their search results:

Let me translate for you. What he’s saying is that Google slants their search results against him. That’s a heck of an accusation and one that is not the least bit true. But to explain why, I have to explain where this came from.

Trump is likely referencing an article by PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard published over the weekend with this headline: “96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘Trump’ News Are from Liberal Media Outlets.” Never heard of PJ Media? Up until 6AM yesterday, neither had I. Fortunately there’s a Wikipedia page on them. But in short, PJ Media is an American conservative news, opinion, and commentary collaborative blog. Which means that they’re likely aligned with Donald Trump. Keep that in mind as I go forward.

What these people did is to the Google “News” tab, typed in “Trump News” and then, using conservative journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s media bias chart (which you can have another discussion about how accurate that is), analyzed the publications that popped up. Then they served up this conclusion:

I expected to see some skewing of the results based on my extensive experience with Google, but I was not prepared for the blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets. Looking at the first page of search results, I discovered that CNN was the big winner, scoring two of the first ten results. Other left-leaning sites that appeared on the first page were CBS, The Atlantic, CNBC, The New Yorker, Politico, Reuters, and USA Today (the last two outlets on this list could arguably be considered more centrist than the others).

Not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results.

And the author also says this in the same article:

Google is secretive about its algorithm, although the company does say that a variety of factors — around 200 of them, according to Google — go into how pages are ranked. In fact, a whole science has developed — called search engine optimization (SEO) — that purports to help sites become more visible in Google search results. Factors such as the relevance of the topic, the design of the website, internal and external links, and the way articles are written and formatted all can affect a site’s Google traffic. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm, and a website’s traffic prospects can rise or fall depending on the changes. PJ Media’s Google search traffic, for example, dropped precipitously after a May 2017 algorithm change. We have yet to recover the lost traffic. Other conservative sites have reported similar drops in traffic.

The author is basically saying that because we don’t know exactly how the Google news tab is populated, there’s nothing that rules out that the suppression of right wing voices  couldn’t be plausible. Thus a conspiracy theroy is born.

However, I’d like to point something out. A simple Google search will lead you to things like this and this which describes how their search algorithm works. While those are from third parties,  Google themselves has this which was also found via a Google search. But let me cut through all of that and get to the point that you care about. Google has an economic need to provide results that users find helpful. That way they will stick around, maybe read an ad, or click on said ad, and most importantly come back the next time they need to search something. And the best way to do that is to prioritizing results from trusted news outlets with large audiences. Which for the record, when I tried to replicate PJ Media’s experiment, I got results from Fox News and Breitbart early in the search results. And they are not exactly left leaning outlets nor do they have small audiences. The bottom line is that if people were not able to find what they were looking for via Google, Google would lose money and we’d be all using Bing. That alone should call into question the accuracy of this report from PJ Media which Trump is basing his argument on as it defies common sense.

And then this line from the article:

While not scientific, the results suggest a pattern of bias against right-leaning content.

News Flash! This wasn’t a study done with any sort of valid methodology behind it that could be replicated, validated, etc. Thus you have to take it with a grain of salt because it’s not worth much and we shouldn’t be talking about this nonsense.

Too bad we are because we have much better things to talk about.

Air Canada App Pwned…..20,000 People Affected

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

Apparently users of the Air Canada mobile app may have something to worry about as about 20,000 users of said app may have been affected by a data breach that happened between Aug. 22‑24, 2018. MobileSyrup received an email about this breach from Air Canada and CBC News is reporting the same thing. But there has been no comment directly from the company on this as of yet. As a precaution, users of the Air Canada app should change their passwords ASAP. Though according to CBC News, that might be a problem at present.

Hopefully the airline releases some sort of statement to shed further light on this incident.

UPDATE: Air Canada has now confirmed the data breach. The FAQ that I linked to is very much worth reading if you use the Air Canada app.

Guest Post: Why Focusing on People and Data Might Be the Distraction Hackers Need to Infiltrate Big Business

Posted in Commentary on August 29, 2018 by itnerd

By Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security. 

We live in times when it’s become easier than ever for hackers to breach an organization through social engineering. Breaches are primarily caused by phishing attacks, representing a huge security problem for businesses.

But why is this type of cybercriminal so widely represented in the statistics? What is it that makes it so easy and so profitable for hackers? We might not like the answers. The ever-increasing connectivity and focus on people and data is leaving us vulnerable to malicious attacks. To protect your business, you need to start thinking like a hacker. Let’s take a look at how they infiltrate big business and what can be done about it.

How Social Engineering Works

Since social engineering relies on personal information hackers can find online, it’s pretty difficult to counter. Before; that required some digging on the hacker’s part – now all it takes is a data-matching service like Spokeo and PeekYou, and they get all the information they might need and more. Cross-matching public records is one thing, but employees also freely share a lot of information on social media. This personal info is then used to target employees within a company with malicious emails, by posing as a trusted individual. From there, all a hacker needs to do is convince an employee to click on a malicious link or perform a wire transfer.

Are Individual Threats the Same as Company Threats?

As we can see, cybercriminals can efficiently use your social media information to reach their desired target within your company. Does that mean company executives should stop using social media altogether, or ban their employees from sharing any work-related information?

The short answer is yes. The long answer, if not “yes,” is that there should be strict policies in place about the use of social networks and what can and can’t be shared. For example, if a company executive posts about being on a business trip, hackers take that as a signal to try and perform BEC. Anything an employee posts about work projects or people they spend time with in the office can help cybercriminals construct an elaborate and believable social engineering scam. It is why every employee must assume the whole world is watching them when they want to post anything work-related on social media.

The frequency of Social Engineering and Phishing

It’s no accident that social engineering and phishing attacks are responsible for 95 percent of data breaches. They exploit what will always be the weak link in any company’s security chain – the people who work there. Relying on traditional protective measures such as firewall, antivirus, anti-spoofing techniques, etc. cannot stop all of these attacks. Education is vital for prevention, but with these scams getting more elaborate and difficult to spot, it doesn’t ensure safety.

What Can Protect Your Business?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t have to worry about phishing? Good news, the worrying stops today. It seems challenging to prevent phish, but Area 1 Security offers an Anti-Phishing Service that finds and eliminates phish through a combination of web crawling and small pattern analytics. With Area 1 Horizon, your business will be safe, and you won’t be adding to the pool of $5.3 billion in losses due to phishing attacks last year.

With the ever-increasing focus on people and data, businesses are leaving themselves wide open to hackers. In those circumstances, there are two options – limiting the information hackers can get about you through social media, or investing in preemptive and comprehensive phishing protection. At Area 1 Security, we stop phishing for good.