News Windows

Windows 11 Run Faster Than Windows 10 On The Same Hardware

Microsoft has unveiled some of the major new features when it comes to Windows 11 performance — which makes Windows 11 run faster than Windows 10 on the same hardware.

In a Microsoft Mechanics video, Microsoft Vice President Steve Dispensa detailed some of the enhancements and their implementation.

The new graphics, the redesigned Start menu, the activity center, the rounded windows, the new icons, the new system applications will be the first features that users will notice when they upgrade to Windows 11. However, an operating system for the general market such as Windows 11 also needs many changes “under the hood” that are much less evident than those related to the interface and user experience.

These “under the hood” changes make Windows 11 feel more agile and more responsive than Windows 10.

Dispensa explains that the Microsoft software engineers have done an amazing job in terms of memory management. “Microsoft has done a lot of work on memory management to allow applications running in the foreground to be prioritized with more use of CPU and other system resources.

Optimizations intended for foreground software also apply to the Windows shell itself as well as to open tabs in the browser. “After implementing the new code we immediately noticed an average resource saving of 32% for in terms of system memory, and 37% in CPU usage” , says Dispensa in the video. “All these optimizations combined between OS and applications, as you can imagine, will lead to longer battery life.” 

In addition, with the same hardware, Windows 11 will restore systems from hibernation much faster than it does with Windows 10. For that, Windows 11 has “an optimized instant-on experience as your PC resumes from sleep.”

During sleep, Windows 11 computers keep RAM “energized” while many other components are turned off. Microsoft has optimized the way Windows 11 accesses hardware and reduced resource constraints between processing threads. This speeds up sleep recovery by up to 25%.

The Windows Hello biometric authenticator should also be up to 30% faster, thanks to code optimizations.

Last but not least, Windows 11 software updates should be up to 40% smaller thanks to a new engine that will only download necessary files from Microsoft’s servers.

Windows 11 will arrive on October 5. From that date, the update will be distributed gradually. Microsoft has said that it expects that by mid-2022, Windows 11 will reach to all devices.

Android News

MIUI Pure Mode Protects Users from Malicious Apps

Xiaomi is working on a new MIUI feature that aims to reduce the installation of malicious apps on its phones. Dubbed MIUI Pure Mode, the feature blocks installation of unknown apps to enhance user security.

MIUI Pure Mode on Xiaomi Phones

According to Xiaomi, almost 40 percent of apps installed on phones running MIUI have never passed the company’s security audits. Moreover, almost 10 percent of these apps are considered malicious. To prevent unsuspecting users from installing apps that might compromise privacy and security, Xiaomi is now testing Pure Mode in MIUI 12.5.

Pure Mode is an upcoming installation mode where users won’t have the option to sideload apps. This should help prevent malicious app installations from sketchy third-party sources. However, the company clarifies that it won’t force everyone to use Pure Mode. Hence, you can choose to turn off Pure Mode if you consider yourself a power user who often sideloads apps.

As of this writing, Xiaomi is accepting testers for MIUI Pure Mode in China. The slots will open from September 6 to 10. If the feature proves to be an instant hit among early adopters, we could expect future updates in the stable version to ship with Pure mode. While there’s no word on the availability of the feature outside China, it doesn’t seem like the company would restrict a safety feature to its home country.

MIUI’s Pure Mode seems like a promising feature to help users that are not tech-savvy, especially elderly people.


Apple Faces Antitrust Case in India for Its Mandatory 30% App Store Fees

While Apple has been facing criticisms for its mandatory 30% App Store fees in many global regions, a non-profit organization recently filed an antitrust case against the Cupertino giant for the same in India. The Rajasthani non-profit organization called Together We Fight Society reportedly filed the antitrust case against Apple for unnecessarily imposing the 30% commission fee to publish and distribute apps through its digital marketplace.

The report comes from Reuters that cites documents and anonymous sources with knowledge of the antitrust case against Apple. As per the report, the allegations that Apple s facing in this case in India are similar to those the company is facing in the European Union.

Apple, for those unaware, charges a 30% commission fee that app developers must pay to the company when they publish and distribute their products on the App Store. This mandatory App Store commission is the primary reason for the ongoing feud between Apple and Epic Games that started last year. Moreover, Apple has received a fair share of backlash from various authorities, developers, and public figures for its 30% fee in the recent past. In fact, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even termed the App Store fees as the “de facto global tax on the Internet” recently.

However, this is the first time that Apple is facing such an antitrust case in India. Although filings and details of cases managed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) are not available for the general public, Reuters was able to acquire some details from the filings and relevant sources relating to the case.

As per a source, the CCI will review the case initially. Following the review, the authority might or might not open a wider investigation to further look into the matter. While chances for the latter are meager, another source suggested that it is highly that an investigation would be issued for the case. “There are high chances that an investigation can be ordered, also because the EU has been probing this,” one of the sources told Reuters.

The non-profit organization that filed the case says that it did so to protect the interests of app developers as well as consumers in India. The members of the organization state that Apple’s App Store fees pose a major barrier to market entry and hurts competition by increasing the cost of app development. This, in turn, affects the consumers as they need to pay more for downloading the apps from the App Store.

Apple, on the other hand, claims that it charges the mandatory App Store fees to keep its marketplace safe and secure from malicious apps. The company cites user privacy and states that it conducts a thorough review process for each and every app on the App Store to maintain a secure user experience. So, what do you think about Apple’s 30% commission policy on the Apple Store? Do you think it is right? Or do you think it is another capitalistic move to make more money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Android News

WhatsApp Banned over 3 Million Indian Accounts During June and July 2021

WhatsApp has imposed bans on over 3 million Indian accounts during June and July this year. The messaging giant banned the accounts based on user reports on its platform, its Indian Grievance Officer, and reports of its automated tools. The company states that it took the steps to ban the accounts to keep its platform safe and spam-free.

The Facebook-owned company recently published its User Safety Monthly Report under the New IT Rules, 2021 of India. As per the report, WhatsApp banned 3.027 million accounts in India from June 16 to July 31. Although only 73 accounts were banned based on user reports, the rest were detected by WhatsApp’s automated abuse detection system on the platform.

The report states that out of the 3 million bans, WhatsApp received only 316 users appeals for bans through its appointed India Grievance Officer. Out of these, only 73 accounts were actually banned by the company for harmful behavior on the platform. Furthermore, amongst the total 594 grievances received from Indian users, 137 were related to account support. The rest were related to safety and product-related issues.

So, the majority of the bans were detected by the platform’s automated tools. As per WhatsApp, its automated system for abuse detection works at three stages of the life cycle of an account – at registration, during a chat session, and when the system receives any negative feedback from other users. The system is operated by a team of analysts to evaluate complex cases and further improve the system.

Plus, WhatsApp is also working on other features like calling to verify the legitimacy of user accounts. However, the company might also soon ease the ban review process for banned accounts on the platform.

So, if you have a grievance regarding the services and features of WhatsApp, you can send an email to [email protected] And if you are being harassed or spammed by accounts on the instant messaging platform, you can block those accounts on the app. WhatsApp will take it as negative feedback for the said accounts and will take necessary actions.


Apple Has Been Scanning iCloud E-Mails for Child Abuse Since 2019

As Apple prepares to scan users’ iPhones and iCloud backups for photos and videos relating to Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), recent reports suggest that the Cupertino giant has been scanning iCloud emails of users for such materials for the past two years.

The company confirmed this in a statement to 9to5Mac, who started investigating the topic after a discreet iMessage statement by Epic’s anti-fraud head Eric Friedman. He reportedly said that Apple’s iOS is the “greatest platform for distributing child porn.” Following this, 9to5Mac reached out to the Cupertino giant for further comment.

Apple, in a statement to the above publisher, confirmed that it has been scanning iCloud mail of users for images or attachments relating to child sexual abuse content. As per the statement, the company scans both incoming and outgoing emails of users that are sent via iCloud. And as iCloud emails are not encrypted, it is not that difficult to scan them in transit.

Now, if you remember, back in early 2020, we saw a report that stated how Apple’s CSAM scanning process works through emails. So, as per the previous report, Apple scans the meta-data of images that have been already tagged as CSAM material. If the system detects such an image in a user email, it flags the mail immediately until a human operator checks the email. If relevant CSAM content is discovered in the flagged email, the name, phone number, and address of the guilty are delivered to Homeland Security.

At the time, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey said, “I think the balance that Apple has drawn is a good one. It allows for the search for known extreme imagery but also has safeguards to prevent abuse of the ability to search emails.”

So, the scanning process of iCloud emails is not against the company’s policies and Apple maintains a good balance between CSAM content discovery and user privacy. However, whether the company will use the same process for scanning images for a user’s iPhone and iCloud Photos is not known yet. We will get to know more about Apple’s plans to fight CSAM on its platform once the feature releases with the upcoming iOS 15. If you don’t want Apple to scan your email, check out mail service providers on iPhone.

Android News

What Is AppFlash on Android and Do You Need It?

Device carriers and manufacturers have never quite understood users – we don’t like or need bloatware. Yet, Verizon decided all Android users needed AppFlash on their devices. It quietly appeared on existing devices in 2017 and later became preinstalled. All users want to know one thing: what is AppFlash, and is it really useful?

What Is AppFlash?

According to Verizon, AppFlash is a content discovery service. It’s designed to be an all-in-one app for finding everything you need to make life easier. From recommending apps and restaurants to movies and getting rides, all you have to do is ask. On the surface, it doesn’t really sound that bad. After all, Google works similarly when you’re signed in, and sometimes, even when you’re not signed in.

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It Safe

One good feature is that the app is designed to automatically stream any content you need without having to download another app to do so if you need a specific app to view or stream content on AppFlash.

It comes preinstalled on Verizon’s Android devices. However, it won’t look like a traditional app. Instead, it works as a type of left homescreen. If it’s enabled, all you have to do is swipe left from your homescreen to view it. And yes, it takes the entire screen.

While the feature was first introduced in 2017, it wasn’t well received. Since so many users started looking for “what is appflash” along with how to remove it, Verizon stopped installing it on most devices. Verizon lists which devices are still supported, which helps you to know if you’re affected by this app or not. These only include certain Moto, ASUS, and LG devices.

Is It Safe?

The answer is yes and no. Much like any app that provides personalized recommendations on your phone, AppFlash collects user data as you use your device. This includes your location data, even when you’re not using the app. It’s not really any better or worse than other popular apps that track your app usage, location, and preferences.

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It What

According to Verizon, “In newer versions of the app, when you choose to enable location, it will be collected even when the app is not in use.” If this leaves you feeling less than safe, you’re not alone. However, many apps that ask for location permission do the same thing, especially search engine and social media apps.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation originally called AppFlash spyware. The EFF recommends users read the privacy policy before enabling the app. Even if it’s not spyware, it’s definitely bloatware if you don’t want it. But, it’s one of the many bloatware apps that you can’t uninstall easily, though there are a few ways to possibly remove it completely.

The app is actually available to download from the Google Play Store, if your device is compatible. Most Android 10 and later devices aren’t compatible. As you can see, users aren’t exactly thrilled with it, giving it just 3.6 stars.

How to Enable and Disable AppFlash

What irked users originally was that the app was downloaded, installed, and enabled without users’ permission. Users were asked to quickly agree to the privacy policy just to see what was on their phones. Now it’s disabled by default on newer devices.

You can enable or disable it yourself at any time via your device’s settings. The exact steps may vary slightly based on your Android device and system.

Go to “Settings -> Display.”

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It Display

Tap “Home screen.”

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It Home

Choose “Left Home screen.”

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It Left

Tap AppFlash to enable it. If you want to disable it, select another left home screen option or select None. Tap OK to save your changes.

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It None

If you installed AppFlash yourself, you’ll have the option to uninstall it like any other Android app. If it’s preinstalled, it may not even be listed in your available apps. If it is, the only option is to disable it.

Alternatively, you might see an AppFlash slider instead of a Left Home Screen option. If so, turn the AppFlash slider to Off.

Dealing with AppFlash Crashes

Whether you like AppFlash or not, a common issue is crashing. Since the app pulls data from many other apps on your device to customize your experience, you might see an error message saying “AppFlash has crashed” on any number of installed apps. You don’t have to just put up with it though.

If AppFlash was installed without your permission, you can’t uninstall it without rooting your device. If you did install it, uninstalling it will prevent the crashing issue.

What Is Appflash On Android And Do You Need It Crashes

Most often, though, the issue is tied to Google Chrome and Android System WebView. Updating both of these apps fixes the crashing problem for most users. You can also try updating the app that’s giving you the error message.

Most apps like AppFlash give you a search box and allow you to follow topics you’re interested in. Based on how you use your device, results are more personalized. Simply signing in to your favorite search engine or browser gives you similar results. Any news, RSS feed reader, or content aggregation app brings you stories on the topics you love.

The more an app personalizes your experience based on use (especially when it sees what you do in other apps), the less private it is. The key is to mix convenience and privacy to get the experience you’re most comfortable with.


Google Introduces Additional Security Improvements To Protect The Privacy Of Minors

CSAM scanning technology announced by Apple to limit the distribution of child pornography on its services is getting a lot of attention, and now it’s time for Google to play its cards to increase the privacy of minors. Therefore, the Mountain View company has announced the additional improvement and implementation of security innovations to provide “safer experience online” for kids and teens.

The said security and privacy improvements affect several of the company’s products, although the most important are related to Google Search and YouTube.

One of the first improvements to note is that all videos uploaded by users between the ages of 13 and 17 will be private by default. This means that all material shared by people under the age of 18 through YouTube and YouTube Kids will only be visible to selected users. Anyway, the platform will allow you to change the settings so that the clips are public, but reminders will be displayed indicating who can see them.

On the other hand, YouTube also incorporates new digital well-being tools. Notifications to take a break and bedtime reminders will be enabled by default, while autoplay will be disabled.

Starting in the next few months, all users under the age of 18 will have SafeSearch enabled by default; the goal is to automatically filter inappropriate content that may appear in search results. In the coming weeks, Google will implement a policy so that those under 18 years of age can request Google to remove their images from Google Images results. The request can be made not only by the underage users themselves but also by their parents or guardians.

Also, by default, Google will block advertising segmentation based on age, sex or interest, so that the minor will not see ads of an explicit nature. In the coming months, Google will grant more filters in Family Link, the company’s family control app, so podcasts, news and web pages can be blocked on smart devices that use Google Assistant.

Another interesting point is that, soon, all accounts used by those under 18 will have the location history record turned off, and it will not be able to be turned on. Google also promise early privacy updates for minors in Play, Workspace for Education, and Google Assistant.


Norton Is Acquiring Avast For $8.6 Billion

NortonLifeLock (formerly Symantec) buys the Czech antivirus software competitor Avast. As the US company, Norton announced on August 11, 2021; the purchase price is $8.6 billion.

The agreed but not yet approved merger is valued at a total of $ 8.1 billion to $8.6 billion. Avast shareholders are entitled to a combination of cash and newly issued NortonLifeLock shares. However, the shareholders of both companies, as well as the relevant regulatory authorities, have yet to approve the merger. The transaction is currently expected to close in mid-2022.

Upon completion of the merger, NortonLifeLock Chief Executive Officer Vincent Pilette will remain CEO of the new company. The group will have headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, and Prague. Avast boss Ondrej Vlcek will become president and member of the board of directors, the companies announced. The stock exchange company resulting from the merger will unite over 500 million users, including around 40 million direct customers.

NortonLifeLock Inc. from Arizona, formerly known as Symantec Corporation (1982 to 2019), has more than 3,600 employees and generated sales of almost $2.5 billion last year. With around 1,700 employees and just under $900 million in sales, Avast Software (founded in 1988) is not even half the size. Both companies have their origins in the 1980s and operate internationally. 

Although, there is no information about Avast and Norton’s plans after the acquisition, so anything could happen. Maybe Norton would remain as a paid software for those who seek greater security, while Avast would continue to exist with a freemium model, as it has been up to now. The point is that both programs would belong to the same company.

In December 2020, NortonLifeLock bought the German antivirus software manufacturer Avira. The purchase price was $360 million. In 2016, Avast acquired another provider of antivirus software, AVG.


CyberDog: Xiaomi Launches An Open-Source Robot Dog

At the launch of the Mix 4 and the Mi Pad 5, Xiaomi surprised everyone with its own open-source robot dog — CyberDog.

CyberDog, which is highly reminiscent of Spot from Boston Dynamics, is Xiaomi’s most advanced robot, with up to 6 built-in microphones and the best of Intel and Nvidia inside.

During the official announcement, Xiaomi addressed CyberDog as a “bio-inspired quadruped robot” and an open-source companion dog — this means that developers from all over the world can freely work and experiment on it. 

According to Xiaomi, “Robotics enthusiasts interested in CyberDog can compete or co-create with other like-minded Xiaomi Fans, together propelling the development and potential of quadruped robots.”

The Cyberdog moves at a speed of almost 12 km/h and weighs 3 kg. It is equipped with an Nvidia Jetson Xavier NX. This uses six self-developed cores with ARM’s 64-bit technology ARMv8.2. The CPU is made up of two faster and four slightly slower cores. There are also 384 graphics cores with Volta technology, including 48 tensor cores and two special deep learning accelerators. The NX can access 8 GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 16 GB of eMMC.

According to Xiaomi’s announcement, the CyberDog is a true beast that features a navigation and obstacle detection system that is accurate to the centimeter. This is made possible by the implementation of the Intel RealSense D450 depth module, accompanied by interactive AI cameras and ultra-wide-angle “fisheye” cameras.

Xiaomi CyberDog specs

The CyberDog has high-performance servo motors, developed by Xiaomi to make it as versatile as possible. According to the Chinese company, the maximum torque is 32-newton ·meters, while the rotational speed reaches 220 revolutions per minute. This allows CyberDog to be fast, agile and have a wide range of movements.

As we mentioned already, Xiaomi’s CyberDog comes with a navigation system that allows you to analyze your environment and interact with great fluidity. But this is not all. The robot dog also comes equipped with an arsenal of sensors that provide “instant feedback” to guide its movements. In addition to cameras, it includes touch and ultrasonic sensors and GPS modules, among others.

It has facial recognition to follow its owner and obey him so that it can follow him wherever he goes, even if there are obstacles in the way. It is controlled by a remote or from its own application. In addition, it supports voice commands.

It also has USB-C and HDMI ports and a 128 GB SSD so that developers can take advantage of them and experiment with new software and hardware. Furthermore, the company has committed to establishing a robotics laboratory for engineers interested in advancing innovations.

Xiaomi insists that it has built the CyberDog in order for it to be adopted by the open-source community. In fact, the robot itself has been created using open-source algorithms.

Xiaomi has launched 1000 units of the CyberDog at a price of 9999 yuan (just over $1500), aimed at “fans of the brand, engineers and robotics enthusiasts.


Gigabyte Ransomware Attack Leaked Confidential Documents Of Intel And AMD

Taiwanese PC and hardware manufacturer Gigabyte has suffered a ransomware attack, and hackers behind this attack claim to have copied more than 100 GB of data — including confidential documents from Intel and AMD that are not intended for the public.

Gigabyte confirmed to the Chinese news site United Daily News about the cyber attack that affected a small number of servers. After the attack was discovered, Gigabyte took the servers offline and notified law enforcement agencies.

According to Bleepingcomputer, the ransomware group RansomEXX is believed to be behind the attack. RansomEXX claims to have acquired up to 112 GB of data in the form of documents.

These documents, according to the hacker group, contain confidential material from AMD and Intel, as well as American Megatrends, one of the world’s largest hardware vendors. RansomEXX has, in fact, already warned that it is going to publish all the documents and sell them on hacker forums if no ransom is paid. The amount of the Gigabyte ransom demand is currently unknown.

Although this case is especially tricky since the interests of up to 4 different companies are involved, cybersecurity authorities always recommend not paying ransoms, despite the consequences. And the fact is that the payment of said sum is not a guarantee of anything — the hackers may also publish the documents or even worse, get paid and then re-sell copies of the documents to the highest bidder in hacker forums, making even more money.