Malware Alert for MacOS Users

macos malware

When it comes to malware macOS is as vulnerable as any other operating system. Lately the new macOS malware is hitting the headlines on account of its nasty method of taking over user’s PC. It all starts with a standard phishing attack. The victim receives an email with a subject line that there is some issue with your tax return (or something equally intriguing). For more details it recommends user to download a .zip file that is attached with the email. When the user tries to open the .zip file a malware executable file (named AppStore) gets executed and it automatically gets downloaded in the background without user’s notice. Once the file is installed, the user sees a fake macOS update page which looks exactly same like a real macOS update page.The fake update page comes on top of every window, and stops the user from using his/her computer until he/ she hits update. Once the user hits the update it asks for the admin password, and when the user enters the password the real nasty stuff of the malware begins. It changes user’s web settings and all of the user’s web traffic gets routed through a third-party proxy server. Now the hacker can easily access the login information on every site, including user’s banking website and social networking website and everything.

The best defence against this malware is awareness. Do not open any email that looks suspective and ask you to download an attached file.

Acer Leap Ware – A Quick Look

leap ware

Taiwan based company Acer realised its new fitness-themed smartwatch “Leap Ware” today. Before we go deep into its features, my first impression was like at least it looks like a smartwatch unlike Acer’s 2015 release “The Liquid Leap”. Priced $139, Leap Ware comes in two color bands, Navy Blue and Light Brown. This smartwatch can be integrated with iOS or Android devices using Acer’s “Liquid Life app which you can freely download from Apple app store or Android play.

Significant Tech Details:

  1. 1.6 inch display
  2. Gorilla Glass SR+ Scratch Protection
  3. IPx7 Water Resistance (It can withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes)
  4. MediaTek MT2523 Chipset

 

What basically it does:

Being a fitness-themed smartwatch its basic function is to monitor your fitness. So here is what it does:

  1. Monitor heart rate
  2. Monitor stamina
  3. Check stress and fatigue level
  4. And alerts about Ultraviolet ray exposure.

You can also set your fitness goals using Liquid Leap app.

 

Battery:

It has a decent battery that can last up to 3 to 5 days on one single charge.

 

Major Turn-offs:

  • It is a bit sluggish
  • Display is dim and not easy to read from the screen under the sun.
  • And finally it’s design is not something very exciting, although it  i’s better than Acer’s 2015 release.

 

So what’s new?

It has a built-in flashlight which is very handy. And personally I like it a lot.

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When Should I Clean Cache Memory?

cache android

There is always difference in opinion when it comes to whether one should clear cache memory from android device or not. Those who recommend clearing cache suggest that by clearing cache one can free up space and can resolve app misbehaving issues. So in case any of your app is running sluggish or you have limited internal memory, you should clear cache from time to time. Different app store different amount of cache. You can check how much cache is being stored by going to your “settings, then go to “applications”and locate your app. In case you want to delete cache from that particular app, go to “storage”section and tap on “clean cache”.

 

But the question is should you clean cache in the first place? Is it that big issue? Well, the volume of data stored in cache for an app is counted in MBs. It’s not that huge amount of data and it might not be affecting the performance of an app or on the whole android device’s performance. Keeping that in mind is it wise not to clear cache which is basically there to lessen the app loading time. An app with no cache saved behaves the way it acted the first time you opened the app. It takes time. More time in loading means more use of the device’s processor and more battery drain. cache clean
Both pro and cons of this idea of clearing cache got some valid points to note down yet there got to be a mid way. Perhaps the best way to manage cache is not clearing it unless there is some drastic shortage of internal memory in your android device or an app acting weird and is displaying error. Although you may consider clearing cache from web browsers apps and heavy apps like google maps. Regular apps don’t need cache clean for better performance.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Launch & Release Date, Features And Price in India

samsung galaxy s8

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ to launch in India on April 19 and are likely to release on April 21.

 

Price: Unknown but approximately price in india for Galaxy S8 would be around 48,000 and for Galaxy S8+ it would be 55,000

Processor: Samsung’s Exynos processor and Qualcomm’s 835 processor

Display: 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display with QHD resolution (and 531ppi) and Gorilla Glass 5 protection

RAM: 4 GB

ROM (internal storage): 64 GB ( can be expanded up to 256 GB using a microSD card)

OS: Android 7.0 Nougat

UI: TouchWiz UI

Cameras: 8MP smart auto-focus front camera, and 12MP dual-pixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture.

Fingerprint Sensor:  it comes with fingerprint sensor at back side

iris scanner: Yes there is iris scanner.

Colours Available: Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Midnight Black,  Coral Blue and Maple Gold

Battery Capacity: 3,000 mAh (Galaxy S8+ gets a larger 3,500 mAh battery).

Water and dust resistance: it comes with IP68 water and dust resistance capabilities.

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Trappist 1 Home of Many Dark Discoveries

trappist 1 system

We humans may be kind of a cosmic fluke in the universe but since thousands of years we are looking for other possible extraordinarily rarity like us in the universe, in other words we are looking for another earth with life in it. Looking at the big sky and the universe it is so difficult to imagine that we are alone. From ancient times to present day this thought has intrigued many scientists and enthusiasts  to explore the sky. But despite all the efforts so far there never been detected any form of life in any other planet. We know our Earth is special but can that specialty be found in another planet somewhere? Yes, it is possible!

What makes Earth special?

  • Rocky surface
  • Presence of liquid water
  • Ideal distance from the sun (planet Earth is in the habitable zone of our solar system)
  • Presence of an atmosphere

Above 4 are the prerequisites for a planet to sustain life in it. With billions of solar systems and planets out there we can expect somewhere the presence of another planet just like our Earth.

Trappist-1

In March, 2016 scientists have discovered 7 Earth-sized rocky planets in a dwarf solar system (Trappist-1) located 39.5 light years from Earth. All the 7 planets are rocky just like our Earth, and more importantly out of the 7 planets 3 planets in the middle are in the Goldilock zone or in the habitable zone. Scientists are optimistic about finding liquid water there, and may be life in some form. Some scientists are so optimistic (and overly excited) that they are trying to tap into possible communication (radio waves) coming from that solar system. That means they are not only expecting life but possibly intelligent life.

So what scientists are waiting for?

Current day’s telescopic technology is not advanced enough to give scientists any idea about the surface condition, the atmosphere or the chemical compound of the atmosphere of those planets. But good news is that with the launch of NASA’s number 1 science priority the “James Webb Telescope” next year (2018) scientists will be able to know those planets better and will take the research further. James Webb Telescope’s revolutionary design and capabilities will help scientists unleash many dark discoveries in the universe.

The overly excited space scientists believe the opportunities for life in the Trappist-1 solar system, especially in those three planets in the middle in the habitable zone is great. According to them  even our own solar system looks fourth-rated in comparison with Trappist-1 system.

Probably we are just one step closer to answering the age old question “are we alone in the universe”. Famous American theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku believes that NASA has hit the jackpot this time and the discovery of Trappist-1 is a Big event.

Year 2018 will definitely be a great year for space science.

AI of Year 2017 Makes People Unemployed

artificial intelligence

If you think the possible negative effects of artificial intelligence will only be felt after a decade or two, here is one example how artificial intelligence has already started affecting negatively some people. A Japanese insurance company “Fukoko Mutual Life Insurance” has replaced 34 employees with an artificial intelligent system. By doing this the company is going to increase productivity by 30%, because the system will be able to perform the task much faster and with 100% accuracy.

If that happens it may turn out to be a disaster for employees in Japan because other companies will start replacing their employees with artificial intelligent systems to increase productivity and to stay in the competition.

And here in the U.S, the revolution of self-driving-cars can cost 4.1 million job losses which includes employment of chauffeurs and drivers of trucks, cabs and ride-share vehicles.

So far AI of year 2017 is acting evil.

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World’s smallest functional nano chip!

smallest chip

From your smartphone to the International Space Station, today computer chips power everything. Chips are tiny electronic brains that execute millions of calculations per second that are required when you perform an activity on your smartphone or computer. With time chips are getting faster, cheaper and smaller. The size of a computer chip depends on the size of the transistors it has. The best chips today have transistors that measure about 14 nanometers. (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter). The next generation chips will have 10 nanometer transistors. Which is remarkable! But next generation chips are not the smallest ones. IBM has developed functional nano chips measuring only 7 nanometres, which of half of the size of the best chips today. Currently IBM nano chips are the smallest chips in the world, which has the capacity to double the processing speeds of smartphones and computers.

Why smaller chips are better?

In the year 1960 Douglas Engelbart, a young computer engineer, introduced a groundbreaking concept of “scaling”. As per that concept by growing the number of transistors and reducing the distance between them faster chips can be developed. Smaller chips require less power and become cheaper to produce. IBM is able to develop the smallest and one of the most advanced chips on the planet by following that concept. Not only that, IBM used silicon germanium, instead of regular silicon, and also used a process called extreme ultraviolet lithography to develop 7 nanometres transistors.

 

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Now AI Can Explain Its Blunder

artificial intelligence

When it comes to AI, we often hear about how AI could increase unemployment, but the truth is that in future we humans are going to let AI take some very sensitive decisions for us like who lives and who dies if such a situation arises. Will you be comfortable trusting a  self-driving car or a robotic surgeon while they take a life and death decisions for you? May be not, or you may get used to it in future! Afterall AI is way better than us when it comes to predicting things. And obviously you take smart decisions when you can predict things. But do you know what the problem with AI is? Lack of transparency in their decision-making! It’s almost impossible for a human brain to predict about the possible decision a strong AI is going to make.

The first death in a driver-less car happened in May 2016. The victim Joshua Brown was on autopilot in his Tesla. The sensors in the car got confused when it couldn’t notice the white truck against the bright sky. That sounds scary and makes us think that probably it’s not wise to rely on AI under such conditions. But we have to keep in mind that many people die in car crashes every day and in most cases road accidents are the consequence of human mistake. Probably it’s not fair to give up on AI (driver-less car) for one accident. It’s to be noted that the accident happened after the car travelled 130 million miles with activated autopilot.ai

 

Robotic surgery, terrorism detection and driver-less cars doesn’t always guarantee 100% positive result, but they promise better result. Far better than what we humans are capable of. We all realize this but what bothers us more is AI’s inability to proof it’s morality in taking certain decision.

 

This is exactly what some researchers at MIT are investigating these days. They are trying to find ways of how to make artificial neural networks more transparent in their decision-making so that people can trust AI without hesitation and fear. MIT researchers Lei, Barzilay, and Jaakkola have designed a neural network that would give explanation for why it took certain decision. This is just the beginning. More research is under process to make AI not only efficient and smart but reliable.

 

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How To Avoid Online Fraud

online fraud

With the increase use of the Internet, cyber crime / online fraud activities are rocketing day by day. According to the MarkMonitor Online Fraud Barometer, 45% of consumers have been victims of online fraud, but surprisingly most of the victims prefer not to report these crimes to authorities. The most common type of cyber attack they encounter are false requests to reset social media account passwords and emails impersonating legitimate companies attempting to ask for personal information. The prime reason behind such crimes is the inadequate knowledge of consumers about cyber security. Online fraudulent activities not only discouraging consumers from using internet for any shopping activity, it also hugely damaging the brand of the company.

Every year cybercriminals use old techniques with new technology to dupe millions of people online. The solution to this problem is to improve your knowledge (as a customer) on cyber security.

Here are 9 things you can do to avoid online fraud:

  1. Use only popular and familiar websites to do any any kind of online purchase. It’s never a good idea to search for a product using a search engine and start buying that product without giving a second thought about the reputation of the website.
  2. Never ever purchase from a website which URL starts anything other than “https://”. A website URL without “https://” indicates that it doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. That means the information you going to enter while doing the purchase can be easily retrievable by cyber criminals.
  3. If you are paying for a good using direct banking transactions, make sure transactions are secure.
  4. If the purchase requires additional personal information like your social security number or your date of birth, stop your purchase immediately. Don’t give anybody online your confidential personal or financial information.
  5. Don’t pay using money transfer. It’s not safe.
  6. If possible use PayPal while making any kind of payment online. PayPal helps to protect your information.
  7. Be very careful when buying things from people or sellers with little or no selling history.
  8. Double check the URL of the website. Sometimes criminals create similar looking website URLs to fraud people online.
  9. Don’t solely depend on product reviews provided on the website to make a purchasing decision. Sometimes sellers hire fake reviewers to make customers buy their product.

 

 

 

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Are People Paranoid About Artificial Intelligence?

artificial intelligence

In a recent survey conducted by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, researchers found that unlike some science fiction writers, philosophers and scientists, general people keep an open mind about AI. Although they do believe that in future AI might cause job loss, security issues, and privacy infringement issues, overall they guess AI will make their lives better and more importantly AI will not turn into killer robots. The researchers surveyed 2,100 consumers online in the U.S, Canada, the UK, China, and Brazil.

Here are some interesting stats on what do people think about artificial intelligence:

  1. 45% consumers see AI’s impact on society positive, while only 7% consumers believe AI will impact society negatively.
  2. 52% consumers think AI will have a positive impact on their personal lives, while only 7% believe otherwise.
  3. 92% customers expect AI to arrive eventually.
  4. 52% customers suppose AI is still in its early stage.
  5. When its comes to trust on AI,  it seems like majority of the customers trust AI’s ability of giving accurate information. They give less value to the advice of friends, family, and other personal relationships. Customers know who is most informed.

Despite all the hue and cry associated to the AI, majority of consumers seem ready to accept AI without any hesitation.

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