Archive for January 18, 2022

Waze’s Snow Alert Feature Can Help Drivers To Avoid Or Report Unplowed Streets

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

As Ontario digs out from yesterday’s storm, drivers can make use of Waze’s Snow Warning feature, which alerts users when they approach a road identified as being unplowed — similar to the reporting of other hazards in the app.

  • Click on Hazards
  • Weather
  • Unplowed road

Additionally, Waze users looking for gas can search for gas stations on their route and find the best priced fuel powered by community members sharing gas prices throughout the country. 

The Waze Gas Station feature notifies drivers of nearby gas stations, prompting users to update the gas price at that specific location so that other Waze users can search for the cheapest prices in their area or route.
For drivers, you can set up your Gas Stations setting here:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on Gas Stations.

Users have a choice to select preferred gas type and preferred brand. Under Search, users can sort stations by price, distance or brand.

HP Introduces Durable Devices For Blended Learning Environments

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

HP Inc. introduced HP Fortis laptops, a new portfolio of PCs built to withstand the rigors of education environments.

Teaching and learning has forever changed. Before the pandemic, student PCs typically stayed in the classroom for occasional use. Today, learning is happening beyond just the classroom including the playground, on the bus, and at home. The PC is a critical tool for digital learning and students want devices that stand up to daily wear and tear, help them connect to the digital classroom, and make it easier to get more done.

Introducing HP Fortis – Built Tough, Designed for Blended Learning

When it comes to education devices, strength and durability reduces downtime which translates to increased instructional time. Built for active and mobile learners, the new HP Fortis portfolio embodies the strength and durability needed to help withstand drops, resist spills, and keep keys where they belong: on the keyboard. The textured surfaces make it easier for students of all ages to grip and handle the lightweight devices. The reinforced power and USB-C® ports limit damage from accidentally tugged cables, while the mechanically reinforced corners and co-molded rubber trims absorb shocks and reinforced hinges reduce stress on the hinges from repeated opening and closing. The full-skirted anchored keyboards prevent keys from being removed when students are fidgeting and may want to pick at them during class. The keyboard also resists spills up to 350 ml/11.8 oz. With more students going back to the classroom, it’s important to keep devices clean. The chassis, keyboard, and display for the devices can be wiped down using commonly available household disinfecting and cleaning wipes. For enhanced safety and protection, the devices feature a new metal shield that helps protect the battery from external damage from daily drops or tumbles.

Large Screens for More Room to Work

Built for the greater demands being placed on today’s students, the HP Fortis 14 devices feature 14” diagonal displays giving students large visual screen space to stay productive – whether it’s taking notes while watching a lecture or creating visual stories with ease. Large screen space gives students the freedom to engage content while consuming it at the same time. Students can also see their work clearly with optional bright anti-glare displays.

The HP Fortis 14” G10 Chromebook is purpose-built for cloud-native learning. Powered by Intel® processors with optional 4G LTE for reliable connectivity, the Chromebook allows students to access their classroom from almost anywhere. The 180-degree lay-flat hinge combined with the 88-degree wide-viewing angle HD camera and dual mics provide an excellent collaborative learning experience. The integrated HP Privacy Camera provides peace of mind to protect users from malicious surveillance, while Chrome Education Upgrade makes the device easy to deploy and simple to manage.

The HP ProBook Fortis 14” G9 and the HP ProBook Fortis 14” G10 help students to confidently move through their day.

  • HP ProBook Fortis 14” G9 – Powered by Intel processors with Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Pro Education or Windows 11 SE, students can easily collaborate and reliably access assignments with Wi-Fi 67 and optional 4G LTE connectivity.
  • HP ProBook Fortis 14” G10 – Powered with Intel 12th Gen Intel® i3/i5 processors and Windows 11 or Windows 11 Pro Education, students can transition quickly between writing documents, running STEM applications, editing video, and more. The latest in connectivity – Wi-Fi 6E – allows students to cut through crowded networks, while the battery learns students’ work patterns and optimizes power consumption with intelligent charging. HP Wolf Security for Business makes it easy for IT to protect student devices with a hardware-enforced, always-on, resilient defense.

Adaptable to Support Multiple Learning Styles

The HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G9 and HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G10 embrace the different ways learning happens. The 360-degree design gives students the freedom to choose the mode that best suits them and their assignment. The optional world-facing 5 MP cameras and rechargeable pen with reinforced tip allows students to create, capture, and draw in laptop, tablet, tent, stand, or book mode. The rechargeable pen is stored and charged in an optional water-resistant garage so it’s ready to go whenever creativity strikes.

  • HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G9 – Powered by Intel processors with Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Pro Education or Windows 11 SE, students can access assignments and apps seamlessly with Wi-Fi 6 and optional 4G LTE.
  • HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G10 – Powered with Intel 12th Gen Intel® i3/i5 processors and Windows 11 Pro or Windows 11 Pro Education, the device helps students tackle demanding assignments, like editing videos for media class or analyzing lab data. Wi-Fi 6E delivers fast, dependable network connections for learning in the cloud. HP Wolf Security for Business provides a resilient defense against malware and hacking. Equipped with intelligent charging, the device’s battery learns students’ work patterns and optimizes power consumption.

Designed for Mobile Cloud-Native Learning

The HP Fortis 11” G9 Q Chromebook, powered by the robust Snapdragon® 7c compute platform, is exceptionally equipped for cloud-native mobile learning and provides secure and reliable access to the classroom. This Chromebook is HP’s thinnest and lightest Fortis device built for the rigors of today’s students and providing ultimate portability. It boots in seconds so students can spend more time learning and less time waiting. The device’s 4G LTE connectivity makes education more accessible and equitable for all students to learn from virtually anywhere. 

Collaborate with Ease

The HP 320 FHD Webcam and HP 325 FHD Webcam are easy-to-use all-in-one webcams for users everywhere. Enjoy crisp images with 66-degree wide angles that offer full HD at 1080p and 30 fps video quality for a natural conversational feel. The webcams are easy to set up with USB-A, have 360-degree rotation for varying positions, and feature a removable lens cover for privacy.

Pricing and Availability

  • HP Fortis 14” G10 Chromebook is available now for a starting price of $349.
  • HP ProBook Fortis 14” G9 PC is available now for a starting price of $369. HP ProBook Fortis 14” G9 preloaded with Windows 11 SE is expected to be available in April with pricing expected to be available closer to product availability.
  • HP ProBook Fortis 14” G10 PC is expected to be available in April. Pricing will be available closer to product availability.
  • HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G9 PC is available now for a starting price of $399. HP ProBook Fortis 11” G9 preloaded with Windows 11 SE is expected to be available in April with pricing expected to be available closer to product availability.
  • HP Pro x360 Fortis 11” G10 PC is expected to be available in April. Pricing will be available closer to product availability.
  • HP Fortis 11” G9 Q Chromebook is expected to be available in June. Pricing will be available closer to product availability.
  • The HP 320 FHD Webcam is expected to be available in February for $39.99. The HP 325 FHD Webcam is expected to be available in March for $39.

The Official Beijing Winter Olympics App Is Found To Be insecure By Citizen Lab

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

In a report released by The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab today, researchers analyzed the ‘My 2022’ Beijing Winter Olympics app and discovered the app is insecure when it comes to protecting the sensitive data of its users. The app’s encryption system carries a significant flaw that enables middle-men to access documents, audio and files in cleartext form. Researchers found that the ‘My 2022’ app, which is required for all athletes, members of the press and the audience to have installed, is subject to censorship based on keywords and has an unclear privacy policy that doesn’t determine who receives and processes sensitive data, thus violating Google and Apple’s App Store guidelines. 

Chris Olson, CEO at The Media Trust, an enterprise digital safety platform:    

“Poor app security is a leading cause of the rise in cyberattacks on mobile devices. While the security issues found in ‘My 2022’ are concerning, unfortunately they are not as unique as they appear. Not all mobile apps are susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, but most of them do contain undisclosed third parties who can access the same user data as the developer. Mobile users frequently assume that they are safe either because of app store policies, or because they have consented to terms of service – but third parties are not carefully checked by app reviewers, and they are rarely monitored for safety. They can be hijacked to execute phishing attacks, share sensitive data with fourth or fifth parties, suffer a data breach caused by lax security practices, or worse.”

I have to admit that if I were an athlete going to these Olympics and I read this, I may think twice about going. And it makes the move by the Dutch to have athletes keep their personal electronics at home look like a good decision.

Rogers Rolling Out Fibre In New Brunswick

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

I’ve been saying for a while that Rogers needs to start rolling out fibre to their user base quickly or be left behind by Bell as from a tech standpoint Bell has the upper hand on Rogers. And based on this press release, they might be about to start doing so:

Building on its commitment to deliver connectivity to more neighbourhoods across Canada, Rogers Communications today announced that it will invest close to $200 million to bring 100% pure fibre to up to 314,000 homes and businesses in New Brunswick starting in the communities of Dieppe, Moncton, Riverview and Shediac. Through these network upgrades, New Brunswickers will have access to pure fibre directly to their homes and businesses to access Rogers leading-edge suite of services.  

And:

Pure fibre delivers a faster, richer, and more responsive online experience that will support even more devices and services – from advance gaming to smart home technology, to virtual support and the most demanding business operations. Pure fibre is next-generation network technology that enables world-class blazing speeds to support transformational growth.   

Once completed, customers will have access to Rogers services including Ignite Internet with download and upload speeds up to 1.5 Gigabits per second, creating an even more seamless experience for uploading music or movies, video conferencing or broadcasting live streams, and creating backups or saving large files to the cloud. Customers will also enjoy endless entertainment with Ignite TV and Ignite SmartStream, bringing together the best content in one place including Netflix, Disney+ and making it faster to find favourites with the easy-to-use Voice Remote.  

While this press release is light on details, such as what the time scales are and the actual speed tiers are, this should make Rogers competitive against Bell for the first time in a long while. At least in that region. Rogers has put up an FAQ on this to answer whatever questions you might have. Though I can’t find anywhere that says where else this will be rolling out. Still, this is going to be worth watching.

LinkedIn Reveals The 20 Fastest-Growing Job Titles In Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

From digitization to hybrid offices, the workplace is changing at a rapid pace. Industries have been upended, while at the same time, many workers have left their jobs in search of something new. These shifts are leaving professionals wondering where the workplace is headed and what role they want to play in it.

To provide insight on the topic, LinkedIn published the 2022 LinkedIn Jobs on the Rise list. It reveals the 20 fastest-growing job titles over the past five years and the key trends defining the future world of work. Here’s a peek at the top five roles in Canada:

  1. Vaccine Specialist – including work in the research, development, production or distribution of vaccines, though most of the jobs are found in medical sales.
  2. Diversity and Inclusion Manager – usually leads a team of people supporting initiatives related to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging within an organization.
  3. Public Health Nurse – work in diverse settings such as schools, workplaces and community facilities to protect the health of individuals and populations.
  4. Public Health Specialist – work with local authorities and communities to provide advice on epidemic prevention control, research diseases and illnesses, find methods of reducing health disparities and promote healthier lifestyles.
  5. Site Reliability Engineer – create and implement automated software tools to maximize a system’s reliability and efficiency, working closely with software development and IT-operations.

The full list, including industry, regional, and salary insights for each role, can be found here.

List Methodology

LinkedIn Economic Graph researchers examined millions of jobs started by LinkedIn members from Jan 1, 2017 to July 31, 2021 to calculate a growth rate for each job title. To be ranked, a job title needed to see consistent growth across our membership base, as well as have grown to a meaningful size by 2021. Identical job titles across different seniority levels were grouped and ranked together. Internships, volunteer positions, interim roles and student roles were excluded, and jobs where hiring was dominated by a small handful of companies in each country were also excluded. 

Job Insights

Additional data points for each of the job titles are based on LinkedIn profiles of members holding the title and/or open jobs for that title in the country.

Remote job postings are based on jobs posted from October 2020 to October 2021 flagged as “remote” by the poster or containing similar keywords. Salary data is calculated using the median yearly salary in the local currency of the country from all past anonymous LinkedIn member submissions and third-party sources. Skills data was derived from the top skills most unique to each title among members who have ever held that title on LinkedIn. Years of experience was calculated using the median years of work experience held prior to starting in the featured title for members hired within the methodology time frame. Education distribution results were derived by analyzing the highest degree attained by members with the featured title, then calculating the number of members with each degree as a share of total degree holders for each title. Top industries are based on the industry of the companies that hired the highest number of members for each job from January 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. Gender breakdown was calculated by measuring the number of members by identified gender currently in each job (provided there was meaningful gender data) as a percentage of the total members with known gender per job. Top locations hiring were categorized as the regions or cities that employed the largest percentage of each job title in 2021. Most common transitions were identified by the share of transitions from another occupation into the featured job. 

Internships, volunteer positions, interim roles and student roles were excluded, and identical job titles across seniority levels were grouped together. 

Researcher Discovers Cyber espionage Campaign Targeting The Renewable Energy Industry

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

Security researcher William Thomas has discovered a cyber espionage campaign targeting renewable energy companies. The campaign, running since at least 2019, uses a custom ‘Mail Box’ toolkit, an unsophisticated phishing package that deploys on the actors’ infrastructure, as well as legitimate websites compromised to host phishing pages. The phishing campaign works to steal login info from employees of renewable energy firms, environmental protection organizations and industrial tech in general. Organizations targeted by the phishing attacks include Schneider Electric, Honeywell, Utah State University, HiSilicon and more.

I reached out to Saryu Nayyar, CEO and Founder, Gurucul for a comment, and here’s what she said:

“While the attack itself is deemed “unsophisticated”, this is a perfect example of an elaborate industrial espionage campaign targeting multiple sectors to disrupt or steal data from a specific industry. While simple, this phishing attack is difficult to defend, however, with a next generation SIEM that supports behavioral analytics supported by adaptable machine learning models, the abnormal communications to suspicious domains can immediately be prioritized for security teams to investigate and determine if a real threat exists. If the campaign is indeed purported by proponents of the fossil-fuel industry, it is indeed unfortunate. Renewable energy companies need to invest more in cloud-native analytical security solutions to protect themselves against this type of threat, but also nation state threat actors looking to steal intellectual property for their own energy programs.”

This should not only put renewable energy companies on notice, but all companies on notice as it is safe to assume that other campaigns like this exist. Which means that defences need to in place to make sure that you do not become a victim.

UPDATE: Bryson Bort, CEO & Founder, SCYTHE had this to say:

This is similar to the targeted credential theft attack as seen in the breach of the Florida water plant in 2020. The underlying goal depends on the nation-state actor involved. If it’s Russia, then it a further example of iterative intelligence against our critical infrastructure and possibly putting “levers” in place in anticipation of conflict (Ukraine weighs heavy on the mind). On the other hand, if it’s North Korea, then it could be the reconnaissance phase for future ransomware attacks. Renewables are the fastest growing energy segment which means they’re a target for financially motivated attacks. 

Cradlepoint and Juniper Networks Announce Partnership To Bring 5G Diversity to AI-Driven Networks 

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, today announced a partnership with Juniper Networks, a leader in secure AI-driven networks, to bring 5G diversity to Juniper’s campus and branch portfolio. By combining Juniper’s leading wired access, wireless access and SD-WAN solutions driven by Mist AI with the Cradlepoint 5G portfolio, shared customers and partners have even more options to reliably connect to remote locations, with added insight for better management and ongoing troubleshooting.  

Dependable network connectivity that extends both within and outside the enterprise is essential to enable the new future of work. As organizations continue to find ways to innovate, 5G has proven to be effective in enabling wireless WAN use cases. This will be particularly beneficial within certain markets, like the retail space, where LTE and 5G wireless becomes the preferred form of connectivity, enabling a flexible and unified approach to connecting people, places and things anywhere. For example, with 5G, retailers can offer curbside pickup or set up temporary pop-up networks to get instant and dependable connectivity where wired WAN connectivity is not an option.   

Through this partnership, Cradlepoint and Juniper provide customers with a proven solution for wireless LAN and WAN use cases that leverage 5G. Additionally, by integrating Mist AI and with Cradlepoint’s NetCloud™ (via open cloud APIs), organizations can receive better end-to-end network visibility, enhanced business continuity and the essential insight needed to maximize end-to-end experiences. 

As part of the partnership, the two companies have verified interoperability of the following products and functionality:   

  • Cradlepoint 5G routers and adapters and NetCloud™ 
  • Juniper Mist Wireless Assurance and Indoor Location Services and Juniper Wireless Access Points
  • Juniper Mist Wired Assurance Service and EX access switches 
  • Juniper Mist WAN Assurance, SRX Secure Services Gateways and Session Smart Routers    
  • Marvis, Juniper’s virtual network assistant that leverages Mist AI to provide proactive recommendations and self-driving network operations plus unsurpassed insight via Natural Language Processing (NLP) and a conversational interface  

To learn more about Cradlepoint’s relationship with Juniper, please visit: https://cradlepoint.com/partners/for-customers/partner-technology-solutions/   

To learn more about Juniper’s retail solutions, visit https://www.juniper.net/us/en/solutions/retail.html

Guest Post: Crypto Miners Are The Most Common Web Threats With Over 170K Unique Malicious URLs Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

Web threats frequently infiltrate users’ networks without their knowledge and can be triggered by opening a spam email or clicking on an executable file attachment.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 177,753 unique URLs with crypto miners posed web threats from October 2020 to September 2021. Furthermore, nearly 70% of all detected web threat domains appear to be located in the United States. 

A total of 177,753 unique URLs with crypto miners caused 652,907 threats on the web. Cryptocurrency miners that run in web browsers consume significant CPU resources, making computer use extremely slow.

Following up, 147,918 unique URLs with JavaScript (JS) downloaders were observed between October 2020 and September 2021, accumulating 712,023 total threats. JS downloaders are snippets of JavaScript code that download malicious codes files from websites remotely to enable other harmful behaviors. 

Next up, 147,907 unique URLs with web skimmers accumulated a total of 611,811 web threats. Web skimming is a hacking technique where the cybercriminal embeds a snippet of JavaScript code into e-commerce or banking web pages to steal sensitive user information such as credit card information and personally identifiable information (PII).

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on web threats:

“The danger of web threats highlights that website administrators must patch all systems, components, and web plugins to help minimize the risks of compromised systems. From the side of internet users, they should stay vigilant online and avoid clicking suspicious links and emails to prevent malware infection.”

Web threats origins

Malicious URLs are hosted on domains whose origins can be traced by identifying the geographical locations for the domain names.

From October 2020 to September 2021, a total of about 831K unique URLs were found to be posing web threats. The URLs are from nearly 52K unique domains, of which the majority, almost 70%, seem to originate from the United States

Russia follows up in a second-place as 3.3% of domains carrying malicious URLs were located there. A bit less, 3.2% of unique domains containing harmful URLs appeared to be found in Germany.

Finally, the rest of the domains, 15.6% to be exact, appeared to be found in other countries. 

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/crypto-miners-are-the-most-common-web-threats-with-over-170k-unique-malicious-urls

BREAKING: Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2022 by itnerd

Microsoft just dropped a press release announcing that they are buying game company Activision Blizzard who makes games such as the hugely popular Call of Duty: Warzone and Warcraft:

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Here’s what really interesting about this. Microsoft have decided to keep Bobby Kotick around. He’s been accused of creating a “frat boy” culture at Activision Blizzard and is under immense scrutiny for that. One wonders if Microsoft will deal with that eventually. In any case, this is a huge move by Microsoft and it will be interesting to not only see how that pays off for them, but what other companies like Sony and Apple do in response.