Archive for May 14, 2019

Microsoft Releases Patch For Windows XP & Server 2003 To Stop Another “WannaCry” Style Attack

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

If for whatever reason you are still running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and the like, you might want to check Windows Update. Despite the fact that Microsoft doesn’t officially support these OSes, you’ll likely find an update to mitigate against CVE-2019-0708. Put into English, Microsoft is patching a flaw in remote desktop services that could lead to a “WannaCry” style attack where a piece of malware hops from computer to computer at breakneck speed.

This flaw is present in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 2008 R2. All of which Microsoft still supports. However it’s also present on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 which for reasons I don’t understand are still widely used. This flaw does not affect Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2012. There are no known attacks that are in the wild as of yet. So Microsoft is clearly trying to stop this from blowing up.

Microsoft has an advisory here that users of XP and Server 2003 should read and heed. Happy Patch Tuesday!

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Huawei Willing To Sign “No Spy” Agreements With Governments To Keep Selling Gear To Them

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

Yahoo! Finance is reporting that Huawei who has been linked with Chinese spying is now willing to sign “no spy” agreements that would allow them to keep selling their gear into countries like the US, UK, Canada and others who have concerns about their potential spying activities:

“We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard,” Huawei chairman Liang Hua told reporters in London via an interpreter.

“Despite the fact Huawei has its headquarters in China, we are actually a globally operating company,” he said. “Where we are operating globally we are committed to be compliant with the locally applicable laws and regulations in that country.

Let’s think about this for a second. The fact that Huawei is willing to sign an agreement saying that they won’t spy on anyone…. Which to be frank shouldn’t even be a thought shows how much these spying claims have hurt the company. Having said that, while I am prepared to be proven wrong, I can’t see any nation that has concerns with Huawei taking them up on this offer.

BREAKING: New CPU Vulnerability Disclosed. Patches From Microsoft And Apple Inbound

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

There’s a new CPU vulnerability that has literally just been disclosed by researchers. It’s called ZombieLoad and it is similar to the Spectre and Meltdown CPU flaws that popped up a while ago. Here’s what you need to know:

“ZombieLoad,” as it’s called, is a side-channel attack targeting Intel chips, allowing hackers to effectively exploit design flaws rather than injecting malicious code. Intel said ZombieLoad is made up of four bugs, which the researchers reported to the chip maker just a month ago.

 Almost every computer with an Intel chips dating back to 2011 are affected by the vulnerabilities. AMD and ARM chips are not said to be vulnerable like earlier side-channel attacks.

 ZombieLoad takes its name from a “zombie load,” an amount of data that the processor can’t understand or properly process, forcing the processor to ask for help from the processor’s microcode to prevent a crash. Apps are usually only able to see their own data, but this bug allows that data to bleed across those boundary walls. ZombieLoad will leak any data currently loaded by the processor’s core, the researchers said. Intel said patches to the microcode will help clear the processor’s buffers, preventing data from being read.

Speaking of those patches….:

Intel has released microcode to patch vulnerable processors, including Intel Xeon, Intel Broadwell, Sandy Bridge, Skylake and Haswell chips, Intel Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake and Cascade Lake chips are affected, and all Atom and Knights processors.

But other tech giants, like consumer PC and device manufacturers, are also issuing patches as a first line of defense against possible attacks.

Computer makers Apple  and Microsoft  and browser makers Google and Mozilla  are releasing patches today.

So as soon as those patches appear for your Windows 10 computer or Mac, I would install them to protect yourself. I’ll update this post as soon as patches pop up.

UPDATE: Apple just put up this page addressing this issue:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210107

In short, Apple released mitigations when they released 10.14.5 as well as other software updates for older OSes that they still support.

UPDATE #2: Google has confirmed it has released patches to mitigate against ZombieLoad. The Chrome team has a technical advisory out that says that users should rely on patches for their computer. “Operating system vendors may release updates to improve isolation, so users should ensure they install any updates and follow any additional guidance from their operating system vendor,” said Google. In other words, make sure your Windows PC or your Mac is patched. Though I will point out that a new version of Chrome just hit my PC and Mac.

UPDATE #3: Microsoft has put up a document on this. And patches have apparently been released via Windows Update. Microsoft also has a page with guidance for how to protect against the new attacks. Meanwhile over at Amazon Web Services, AWS has been updated to prevent attacks.

UPDATE #4: VMware has released software updates for vCenter Server, ESXi, Workstation, and Fusion to mitigate this threat. Details here.

 

 

HP Announces World’s First Dual Screen Gaming Laptop And Other Gaming Gear

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

Today HP raised the bar for gaming experiences, launching the world’s first dual-screen gaming laptop and new line of gaming innovations.

The OMEN X 2S – the world’s first dual-screen gaming laptop – provides extraordinary power and multitasking capabilities, the OMEN 15 and OMEN 17 laptops bring exceptional power in their thinnest forms yet, and both HP Pavilion Gaming 15 and HP Pavilion Gaming 17 laptops offer outstanding versatility and mobility for gamers and creatives alike. In addition, with enhancements to OMEN Command Center software and new OMEN and HP Pavilion Gaming displays and accessories, HP has engineered an industry-leading gaming ecosystem that delivers everything gamers need to progress and achieve their goals.

Gaming industry insights show 82 percent of people use their mobile phones for messaging during gaming sessions, 61 percent listen to music, and 49 percent watch game related live streams, video content and browse websites. With this in mind, HP has added an unprecedented second screen to the OMEN X 2S in the form of an easy-to-use six-inch 1080p touchscreen that lets players message friends in WeChat and WhatsApp, browse in Spotify, watch Twitch and YouTube, or even serve as a hub for OMEN Command Center software.

As the world’s first dual-screen gaming laptop, the OMEN X 2S shakes the foundation of what’s expected of a gaming laptop, with tremendous multi-tasking capabilities for various activities and support with dedicated hotkeys. Watching how-to videos while playing, listening to the right song on Spotify while grinding an MMO, or keeping current with Twitch chat or Discord is no longer an alt-tabbing hassle. The OMEN X 2S, further bolstered by a real-time screen mirroring feature that can cut and magnify parts of the main screen – including copying the map portion of a racing game – to the second screen, ensures vision is centered and head movement more vertical than horizontal.

This powerhouse is 20 mm thin with a full metal chassis and is the first 15-inch diagonal gaming laptop in the world to come with an applied liquid metal compound to the thermal system by way of Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut. The result is phenomenal heat dissipation at 10 times the thermal conductivity of silicon thermal grease, up to a 28 percent frames-per-second (FPS) performance boost over traditional grease when testing in Apex Legends, and an 8.5 percent faster lead time in a Blender Benchmark test.

The path to smaller, cooler, and more powerful applies to the newest versions of the OMEN 15 and OMEN 17 laptops. With a 20 percent and 18 percent reduction in thickness over previous versions, they sit at a slim 20 mm and 27 mm thin.

All three laptops feature OMEN Tempest, an overhauled advanced thermal solution powered by a 12V fan, which utilizes three-sided venting to enable five-way airflow to keep things ultra-cool. Realistic visuals are delivered by support for up to NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2080 for the OMEN 17 and features Max-Q design for the OMEN X 2S and OMEN 15. Additionally, multitasking and grand-scale games – which take mountainous resources – have never been smoother, with up to the latest 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 high performance mobile processor, powered by up to 5.0 GHz Turbo8, eight cores and 16 threads, and up to 32 GB of RAM.

Take advantage of the latest in-storage technology with options that include the newly announced Intel® Optane™ Memory H10 with Solid State Storage. The new Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) designed to support gigabit speeds ups the wireless game with up to 3X faster file transfer speeds than Wi-Fi 5(802.11ac). Top it off with options up to an esports standard 240 Hz refresh rate 1080p display that allows visuals to flow across the screen with viper strike-like speed and NVIDIA® G-SYNC® on the OMEN X 2S and available on select OMEN 15 and OMEN 17 configurations.

OMEN Command Center Updates

Since its creation, OMEN Command Center has evolved as the software solution for managing and enhancing gaming hardware. The evolution continues with two additions coming to the platform for all three new OMEN devices. Performance Control cranks up fan RPM to either maximize cooling or performance, based on the chosen setting. The new OMEN Dynamic Power feature manages CPU and GPU wattage based on what a game is utilizing at a given moment to maximize FPS. Combined, these powerful additions serve to improve gameplay while also adding a level of flexibility.

Play at the Speed of Esports

Meticulously crafted to take advantage of the max FPS found in top-tier rigs, and with a sturdy design used in collegiate and professional esports, the OMEN X 25 and OMEN X 25f displays feature micro-edge bezels, one millisecond response times, and NVIDIA® G-SYNC® and AMD Radeon™ FreeSync™ technologies to synchronize industry-leading 240 Hz refresh rates to the GPU and keep visuals unsullied by tearing. The OMEN X 25 is an exceptional tool for climbing the ladder of professional play and can be seen in use by Overwatch League players throughout the 2019 season.

Game with Wireless Exceptionalism

Become a cord breaker with the OMEN Photon Wireless Mouse. With a variety of customization options, including removable rests and 11 customizable buttons, it’s laboriously crafted and includes a tensioning-balance system that ensures effortless optical-mechanical mouse clicks for big and little fingers alike. To address concerns of latency, connectivity, and battery life in wireless mice, OMEN Photon features 2.4 GHz Proactive Wireless Technology, 0.2ms click response time, the ability to charge on any Qi enabled surface, and up to 50 hours of battery life.

Constructed with Qi wireless charging capabilities, the OMEN Outpost Mousepad can fully charge the OMEN Photon Mouse in 2.5 hours and works with compatible smartphones. Added adaptability comes in the form of rigorously tested hard and soft anti-fray mat options, which can be selected by simply flipping the mat to the desired side. A USB-A Passthrough port for a wireless dongle and OMEN Command Center customizable RGB LED lighting cement the capabilities of this advanced mousepad.

OMEN Lifestyle

Entering the apparel space requires a bold vision beyond simply slapping a logo onto a shirt or hoodie. OMEN Apparel has been designed with 20 styles from the ground-up by an in-house team focused on creating high quality comfort that can withstand the most intense gaming marathons, while still looking stylish.

Versatile Gaming on the Go

Designed with a thinner frame than before, the latest HP Pavilion Gaming 15 laptop arrives with an eight percent decrease in height over the previous model and is joined by the introduction of the new HP Pavilion Gaming 17 laptop. Technological improvements across the board arrive with options up to the latest 9thGen Intel Core i5/i7 high performance mobile CPUs and up to the recently announced NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q design.

Expertly crafted to yield precise aim and cursor movement along with a variety of customization options such as on-the-fly DPI and RGB lighting effects, the HP Pavilion Gaming Mouse 200 gives users a superb gaming experience. It pairs brilliantly with the HP Pavilion Gaming Mousepad 400, which utilizes a fine-textured anti-fray cloth surface that is optimized for both speed and control playstyles while resting on a rubber base.

OMEN by HP Pricing and Availability18

  • OMEN X 2S Laptop is expected to be available by June via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $2099.99. The 240 Hz option is expected to be available in July.
  • OMEN 17 Laptop is expected to be available in June via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $1099.99. The 240 Hz option is expected to be available in October.
  • OMEN 15 Laptop is expected to be available in June via HP.com for a starting price of $1049.99.
  • OMEN X 25 Display is expected to be first available late June in Europe for 629.99 € and in North America early September via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $549.99.
  • OMEN X 25f Display is expected to be first available late June in the US via Best Buy for a starting price of $449.99 and in Europe late June via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of 459.99 €.
  • OMEN Photon Wireless Mouse is expected to be available in July via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $129.99.
  • OMEN Outpost Mousepad is expected to be available in July via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $99.99.
  • OMEN Apparel: is available now via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $29.99.
  • Pavilion Gaming 17 Laptop is expected to be available by June via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $849.99.
  • Pavilion Gaming 15 Laptop is expected to be available by June via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $799.99.
  • Pavilion Gaming Mouse 200 is available now via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $24.99.
  • Pavilion Gaming Mousepad 400 is available now via HP.com and other retailers for a starting price of $29.99.

For more information about the OMEN by HP ecosystem of gaming PCs, displays and accessories, visit: http://www8.hp.com/us/en/campaigns/gamingpcs/overview.html.

Trend Micro Announces an All-in-One Solution for Cloud and Container Workloads

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

Trend Micro Incorporated today announced the availability of the industry’s most complete security from a single solution protecting across cloud and container workloads. This leadership has been achieved through newly launched container security capabilities added to Trend Micro Deep Security to elevate protection across the entire DevOps lifecycle and runtime stack.

From virtual servers and data centers to public and private cloud workloads, containers are increasingly used and demand protection. Leading enterprises are bringing together their application development teams, IT operations and their security team to help the business deliver automated, secured applications to market quicker. Trend Micro connects teams with technology tools that bake security into the process while meeting compliance needs and reducing risk.

The new features available now in Trend Micro’s container security solution include:

Securing across the complete DevOps lifecycle 

 Within the software build-pipeline, Trend Micro has extended its container image scanning to include pre-registry scanning, providing earlier detection of vulnerabilities and malware over and above scanning the trusted registry for any future threats. Deep Security will now also scan for embedded secrets such as passwords and private keys and provide compliance and configuration validation checks, along with image assertion for digitally signed images.

Securing across the entire stack

At runtime of the container, Trend Micro has boosted container platform protection across Docker and Kubernetes. Deep Security has long ensured protection for the host and containers at runtime. This includes intrusion prevention system (IPS) rules, integrity monitoring to detect compromised instances of the platform, as well as log inspection.

To ensure complete protection, Trend Micro inspects all lateral and horizontal traffic movement (east, west, north, south) between containers and platform layers like Kubernetes and Docker.

Securing while granting full control

To increase automation and decrease manual tasks, security and operations teams using Trend Micro can now use any command shell to execute the application program interfaces (APIs). This additional option ensures full control of deploying policies, automation of monitoring, reporting and more. This completely new set of representational state transfer APIs have been written to automate security for application development and operations teams across the container orchestration tools and runtime environments.

To learn more on the Trend Micro container security solution, visit https://www.trendmicro.com/containers.

Global TV Now Streaming On Roku Devices

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

Global TV announced today that its extensive offering of hit shows are now available on all Roku streaming devices in Canada. As the first Canadian broadcaster to join the platform in Canada, Global is broadening its reach and giving audiences a new way to watch its complete lineup of daring dramas, laugh-out-loud comedies, and fan-favourite reality shows with the Global TV App on Roku streaming players and Roku TVs.

In Canada, consumers can access the Roku platform through Roku streaming players as well as Roku TVÔ models from Hisense, RCA, Sharp, Sanyo and TCL. Roku streaming devices deliver a coveted content selection, ease of use, and value to Roku’s highly-engaged customer base. In Canada, the Roku streaming platform offers thousands of free and paid for channels that provide access to 150,000+ movies and TV episodes. The Global TV App can be added from the Roku Channel Store in the Movies & TV category, allowing viewers to stream hit shows like Global’s New Amsterdam, 9-1-1, Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Survivor, Big Brother Canada, and more.

In addition to Roku streaming devices, the Global TV App is available on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV. Full episodes of Global series are available for free on Roku streaming devices for the first seven days after they air on television. To unlock Global’s entire lineup, viewers can sign in to the Global TV App with their TV service provider credentials to access full episodes and exclusive clips anytime. For more information, visit GlobalTV.com.

Review: 2019 Mazda3 Sport GT AWD – Part 2

Posted in Products with tags on May 14, 2019 by itnerd

IMG_0774.JPEGThis is the 2.5 L Skyactiv-G 4 cylinder engine that powers the Mazda3 Sport GT AWD. It puts out 186 horsepower and 186 pound feet of torque. Now this engine combined with a 6 speed automatic transmission will move this Mazda3 Sport GT AWD with authority. It’s not head snapping fast. It’s more like the speed builds in a wave fast. Which means that if you’re looking for hot hatch levels of performance, this may not be the hatch for you. (Though Mazda could make this a hot hatch by taking the 2.5 L turbo engine that they use in a variety of other Mazda products and drop it into this vehicle and call it the MazdaSport3. Hint. Hint.) But having said that, You’ll have no problems passing transport trucks, merging onto the highway, or anything else that requires torque and horsepower.

The six speed transmission that’s mated to this engine is well sorted and always seems to be in the right gear to power all four wheels. In fact the iActiv AWD system is one reason in my opinion that the Mazda3 GT AWD is able to get the power to the road. It constantly monitors the road and shunts power to where it is needed. Not to mention it will assist in keeping you shiny side up when driving in inclement weather. The system worked transparently and without drama during the week that I had the Mazda3 as it rained a couple of times during the week and I always felt confident driving this vehicle.

As for handling, I have to say that I was impressed with the handling that was on offer here. I found the handling to be very sharp and responsive, and I perceived it to be a step up in some ways from the 2019 Mazda3 Sedan which I test drove recently. When I pinged my contact at Mazda about this, he assured me that this wasn’t the case. It turns out that the tuning between the sedan and hatchback are the same. However cars with AWD have slightly different rear springs and dampers to make it feel the same with the added weight. But that’s the only difference.

Mazda also brings G-Vectoring Control Plus to the table as it helps you to carve corners like you’re on rails. And the steering is sharp and direct. I will also give Mazda credit retaining a lot of road feel in the Mazda3 Sport so that I could feel what the car was doing. The only catch to that is that on rougher roads, the Mazda3 Sport might not be your cup of tea as the vibrations from hard bumps may turn you off a bit. You might want to include some rough roads on your test drive to see if you find this to be an issue. But having said all of that, Mazda really has done a great job with the suspension in the Mazda3 Sport and I would suspect that if handling matters to you, you’d be taking the hatchback in a heartbeat.

The brake pedal is firm but easy to modulate. The accelerator pedal is easy to modulate as well. In terms of fuel economy, I am currently getting 8.4 L per 100 KMs which is great as I am driving in city and highway traffic, most of which is in rush hour, and I am making no attempt to drive in any way that saves fuel because this car is so much fun to drive. I suspect the fact that it comes out of the box with cylinder deactivation technology which allows the Mazda3 Sport to run with 2 cylinders under light load has something to do with that.

Tomorrow I will discuss the interior which can be described in two words: Class Above. Tune in tomorrow to find out why.