Following the announcement of Apple’s next-gen macOS 12 update, dubbed macOS Monterey, at its WWDC 2021 developer conference earlier this year, the company seeded several betas of the desktop OS for beta testers. Now, after launching its latest M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models, the Cupertino giant has announced the release date for the public version of macOS Monterey – October 25.
The new macOS update will come as a free OTA update for all compatible Mac devices on October 25 next week. You can check out our dedicated story on which Mac devices will receive the macOS Monterey update via the corresponding link.
Now, for those unaware, we have already seen various new features that Apple released for macOS Monterey in the developer and public beta of the update. Moreover, macOS Monterey will bring several features that will be exclusive to the M1 Macs.
The new features of macOS 12 Monterey include SharePlay for FaceTime, new Safari features, and Universal control that will enable Mac and iPad users to easily transfer files between each other. However, some of the features may not make their way at launch as Apple, in its official press release for the new MacBook Pro models, stated that features like SharePlay and Universal Control are coming “later this fall.”Hence, chances are Apple will roll out the missing-at-launch features via a later update.
So, if you own a macOS 12 Monterey-compatible device, you can check for the OTA update on October 25 (Monday). However, if you want to try out some of the new Mac features right now, you can check out our story on how to download and install the public beta of macOS 12 Monterey right here.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has revealed that the most searched word in Bing, Microsoft’s alternative is ‘Google’.
According to Google, this is a clear reference to the fact that the first thing users do when they end up in Bing is to search Google to find something else. However, the company has not done it just to mock its rival, but as part of a legal strategy.
According to Bloomberg, the plan of Moutain View company is to use this type of data to avoid paying a millionaire fine in Europe. This news comes after Alphabet has been defending itself against a European Union antitrust fine, arguing that the company had been putting pressure on Google and Android users to force the use of Mountain’s company’s apps and services.
According to a statistical compilation of Ahrefs, “Google” is effectively the most entered term globally in Bing, with 40.96 million monthly searches. This figure “represents 13.2% of the entire global search volume,” they explain. YouTube is in second place in the ranking, with 35.28 million.
The lawyer’s argument maintains that users seek to use Google as their alternative and that at no point do they force users to abandon Bing. In short, the idea is that users leave Bing on their own.
In addition, it is most likely that the search for this term is due to the fact that, when we first configure Windows and enter Microsoft Edge, it opens Bing by default. Many users search Google not only to use the search engine but to download Google Chrome.
The Zimperium zLabs security team has discovered a new dangerous Android malware, named GriftHorse, that has already affected 10 million devices in 70 countries around the world.
GriftHorse, a Trojan found in applications that appeared to be legitimate but silently subscribed victims to premium SMS services. According to the security experts, it has been active since November 2020, and GriftHorse operators are believed to “earn” between $1.5 million and $4 million a month. They even qualify GriftHorse as one of the most “widespread” malware campaigns of 2021.
This research has been made public on the Zimperium blog, with the collaboration of researchers Aazim Yaswant and Nipun Gupta. They have detailed the way that malware works.
The versions of GriftHorse noticed by experts were distributed through the official Google Play store and third-party application catalogs — disguised as other harmless applications. By installing itself on the victim’s phone, it fills the device with so-called popups that show forged advertisements and, above all, false notifications of prizes, offers, etc.
If the victim clicks on one of these notifications, they are redirected to a page where they are asked to verify their phone number, ostensibly to access the offer. In fact, here, users subscribe to paid SMS services, the cost of which sometimes exceeds $35 per month. This money ends up going into the pockets of the GriftHorse operators.
The campaign uses at least 200 trojanized mobile apps, making it one of the largest fraudulent transactions uncovered this year. Malicious apps fall into a variety of categories ranging from Tools and Entertainment to Personalization, Lifestyle and Dating, allowing attackers to scale up their attacks.
Like banking Trojans, GriftHorse does not exploit any vulnerabilities in the operating system but uses social engineering techniques to force users to subscribe to a premium service.
The researchers reported their discovery to Google, and the rogue apps were removed from the Play Store. However, they are still available in untrusted third-party repositories.
The idea, therefore, would be to create a method to ‘copy and paste’ the wiring map of neurons in our brain in 3D neuromorphic chips, based on an array of nanoelectrodes to record large volumes of neurons and thus record their connections and their intensity.
The objective is to copy the map of the neural connections of our brain using this array of nanoelectrodes and copy it into a high-density 3D network of SSD memories.
Since the human brain has approximately 100 billion neurons and a thousand times more synaptic connections, the ultimate neuromorphic chip will require 100 trillion memories. The integration of such a large number of memories on a single chip would be possible thanks to 3D memory integration. Remember that Samsung has played a very important role in the development and distribution of this kind of memory.
If what Samsung wants to achieve, it would be possible to create a memory chip that is close to mimicking the “unique computing features of the brain” that until now have not been able to reach the artificial technology of the human being. This includes, according to Samsung, cognition, adaptation to the environment or easy learning.
This approach could allow a future in which artificial intelligence could behave like a real brain, adopting some of its main benefits such as adaptation or the ability to have genuine cognition. Thus, we would get extremely close to an artificial intelligence practically identical to human intelligence.
Two-factor authorization is supposed to lead to increased security. That extra step is supposed to prevent spammers from breaking into your account. By just learning one access point, they are still required to take an extra step that they most likely do not know. However, researchers have learned that 2FA can lead to a security risk with recycled phone numbers.
Recycled Phone Numbers Expose 2FA Accounts
Whether it’s because they relocate or switch cell carriers, people change their phone numbers from time to time. But there isn’t an unlimited supply of unused phone numbers. Because of this, discarded phone numbers are often recycled. You may have discovered this when you picked up a new number and are bothered by a rash of calls for the person who was previously connected to that number.
You may be bothered by more than that. If the number was previously attached to 2FA, the information from the accounts is subject to a security risk. Now instead of needing the two factors for access, all that is needed is the phone number.
“Additionally, a majority of available numbers led to hits on people search services, which provide personally identifiable information on previous owners. Furthermore, a significant fraction (100 of 259) of the numbers were linked to leaked login credentials on the Web, which could enable account hijackings that defeat SMS-based multi-factor authentication,” detailed the researchers in their study.
“We also found design weaknesses in carriers’ online interfaces and number recycling policies that could facilitate attacks involving number recycling.”
The new owners of the phone numbers are subjected to security and privacy-related calls and messages, including such things as authentication passcodes. The Princeton researchers believe the new owners could become incentivized to exploit the accounts these new numbers are connected to.
Limiting the Security Risk
What can you do when you are changing your phone number to limit the security risk of your accounts that were at one point connected to 2FA? Tracking down all those accounts protected by 2FA would be a nightmare.
The Princeton researchers believe you should “park” your old number when you’re switching to a new one. You can do this with a parking service, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), or a VOIP provider. This could give you the time you need to update your 2FA settings on your old accounts.
Microsoft has decided to use Intel technology to block malware dedicated to mining cryptocurrency on the computers.
Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (MDE) — for the intended business version of its Windows Defender antivirus — now includes support for blocking cryptojacking malware by integrating Intel Threat Detection Technology (TDT).
This technology combines running low-level hardware telemetry using the PMUs (performance monitoring unit) of Intel processors with artificial intelligence to allow Windows to detect cryptomining malware.
Intel TDT is one of the tools offered in these processors as part of the Hardware Shield package dedicated to technology. These are included directly in the processors and do not depend on any type of software to be able to take advantage of them. The idea lies in being able to detect these threats without hackers knowing it and, furthermore, that this does not affect the performance of our computer.
Furthermore, machine learning integrated into the Intel TDT process can be trained to recognize attack vectors of other types. According to Karthik Selvaraj, principal research director for the Microsoft 365 Defender research team said: “We have enabled this technology specifically for cryptocurrency mining, it expands the horizons for detecting more aggressive threats like side-channel attacks and ransomware.”
Intel TDT, on the other hand, does not affect the overall performance of the system even if it constantly analyzes the telemetry data of the virtual machines. This is because these workloads are relegated to the integrated GPUs of Intel processors, preventing an immediate effect on the CPU itself. In fact, this new capability will be available to all Intel Core users and Intel platforms such as vPro.
Unfortunately, for now, it will be available for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, and we will have to wait for it to reach consumer computers.
Like any application, Telegram is not immune to cyber-attacks and other attempted exploits targeting its users. An unidentified hacker group use Telegram to spread a new malware with Remote Access Trojan (RAT) — dubbed “ToxicEye”, to take control of victims’ devices.
According to the blog of Omer Hofman, a security researcher at Check Point Research, for over three months, they have identified more than 130 attacks using the ToxicEye remote access Trojan.
Telegram, which has recently gained some popularity as an alternative to Whatsapp, currently has over 500 million active monthly users and has also proved quite popular with cybercriminals who often use it as a starting point for distributing malicious tools and attack vectors.
In this case, the chain of attacks starts with the hacker creating a Telegram account and a bot that is an integral part of the malware control infrastructure.
Then, ToxicEye is distributed by hackers using phishing emails that contain the virus. The moment a user opens an infected file, he installs malware that allows hackers to steal data, delete or transfer any files, disrupt systems, hijack access to the device’s microphone or camera to record audio or video, and encrypt databases from they think about ransom demands.
The ToxicEye RAT exhibits a number of capabilities fairly common among modern malware — scanning and stealing credentials, operating system data, browser history, clipboard content, and cookies. The malware can also act as a keylogger and can compromise audio/video devices connected to the system that can be used to intercept voice communications or record videos.
To check if the ToxicEye Trojan is present on the system, the most significant indicator of compromise is the presence of the rat.exe file at “C:\Users\ToxicEye\“. Then the usual precaution and prevention recommendations apply — always check the sender of an email and do not open attachments of dubious origin.
You’ve been using Chrome for a while now, and the extension you just installed tells you that to complete the installation you need to restart Chrome. You might delay restarting Chrome since the tabs you have open are too essential to close at that time.
Thanks to a trick Chrome has, you’ll be able to restart Chrome without the fear of losing all your tabs. Even if the tabs you closed are from a previous session, Chrome still offers the possibility of recovering those as well.
Restore Chrome Tabs from Your Last Session
Your Chrome history should hold onto your session history (unless you regularly clear your browsing history), so that an entire session of your tabs can be restored when you next open Chrome (even after rebooting your PC).
To do this, just open Chrome, click the three-dot menu icon at the top-right corner -> History, then look under “Recently closed.”
You’ll see a list of your your recently closed Chrome tabs. (If you closed Chrome with multiple tabs open, you’ll see something like “4 tabs” or “12 tabs,” depending on how many you had open.) Click the list to restore your session.
Create a Shortcut to Restart Chrome
To start saving all the tabs you have open, you’ll need to expose the bookmark bar by pressing Ctrl + Shift + B. Once the bookmark bar drops down, right-click on an empty space and select the option that says “Add Page.”
When the “Edit Bookmark” window appears, name it something like “Restart Chrome,” and in the URL box, type chrome://restart. Once you’ve finished, make sure to click on Save. The page that you had open when you created this bookmark will be saved with the rest of the bookmarks.
When you click on it, you’ll trigger Chrome to restart, with all the tabs you had open right where you left them. Try to get used to using this bookmark in the future so that each time you restart Chrome, your tabs will return.
Suppose that the last time you used Chrome you were just so tired that you just couldn’t keep your eyes open any longer, and you turned your computer off. It’s a good thing that Chrome has an option that allows you to pick things up where you left off.
To enable this feature, click on the three dots at the top-right of the browser, and click on Settings. When the new tab appears, look for the section that says “On startup” – it will be the last one down. You can go ahead and swipe without worrying you’ll miss it.
The second option down will be the “Continue where you left off” option. Click on this second option, and the changes are automatically saved. There is no need to click on a save button.
Close the tab as you would normally. From that point on, every time you launch Chrome, the tabs that you were using last time will be the first ones you see in your new session. This trick will also work on Chromebook, just in case you were wondering.
Use OneTab to Save Your Tabs
If you’re willing to use an extension, you may want to give OneTab a try. This Chrome extension will save all the tabs you have open into a list you can find in one tab.
Even if you restart Chrome, the extension will have all the tabs neatly listed. It will also show you options of what you can do with your tabs, such as restore all, delete all, share as a web page, and more.
For the past several years, online privacy has been a prominent theme. Google, in particular, dominates almost all aspects of the Internet, which considering its business model, isn’t compatible with user privacy. As such, many are looking for Google alternatives, especially when it comes to search engines.
In this post, we look at some of the best search engines that focus on privacy first and foremost. Before this, we also discuss why you’d want to choose a more private search engine in the first place.
Why You Should Choose a More Private Search Engine
When it comes to search engine usage, Google dominates. In fact, it’s not just in search, but for browser usage, cloud-based desktop publishing, and much more. However, Google’s business model doesn’t put your privacy or data first.
Google thrives on monetizing the data of its users to turn a profit. As the saying goes, “Free often doesn’t mean free.” In other words, you are the product.
This has bled into more mainstream user’s thoughts, and now there is a groundswell of opposition to Google’s preferred business practices.
Let’s take a look at the search engines that are focused on privacy. They are not presented in any certain order, so feel free to jump around and investigate those that catch your eye.
Probably the most famous of the privacy-focused search engines, DuckDuckGo is the poster child of privacy. Its search results are collated from a number of sources, including Yahoo!, Wolfram Alpha, and its own DuckDuckBot crawler.
However, this shouldn’t have any privacy implications, as your data isn’t passed to third parties. Even so, clicking links to external sources, such as YouTube videos in search, will obviously be out of DuckDuckGo’s control.
To generate income, DuckDuckGo uses ads and affiliate-linking to sites such as Amazon, but all ads are clearly demarcated. What’s more, the affiliate linking doesn’t contain any personal info, so your search results are safe.
If you really need to access Google search results, the best pick for you is StartPage. StartPage has the benefit of replicating Google’s search results by sending your searches to Google, then displaying the results for you. Google doesn’t know it was you – all it knows is that StartPage requested the information, which doesn’t tie back to you in any way.
In a testament to their seriousness about keeping your data private, StartPage even removed Yahoo from their search results when it was unveiled that the company had willingly helped the NSA snoop on Yahoo account holders. Good on you, StartPage!
Next up, Searx is an open-source “metasearch” engine run by volunteers. This means there are no ads, affiliate links, or any other “trackable” elements.
The difference between Searx and other search engines lies in how it’s distributed. The developers encourage users to run their own server, which means you’ll have almost 100 instances to choose from.
Once you get to a search page, the results are mixed. The look is functional, and you aren’t going to get the same quality of results as other search engines. However, it’s private, free, and worth your time if you’re a “Do-It-Yourself” app builder.
Our final Google alternative is Qwant. It’s a French company that looks to provide privacy and style at once. We’d argue it’s the better looking of all search engines, although its privacy is more on our radar.
It uses its own indexing to provide search results but also uses Bing in some cases. The business model is built around ads and affiliate linking, using the Bing ads network. In our tests, we even saw ads for Google products and services, which somewhat goes against the “spirit” of the whole private browsing movement.
Even so, Qwant is a solid and private search engine that even offers a child-friendly version. As such, it’s worth checking out – especially if you’re a French speaker.
If you have been following tech news lately, there is a good chance you have heard something about 5G. This next generation of wireless technology is all the buzz these days. The thing is, as many companies tout the benefits of 5G, consumers still don’t know much about what 5G really means. Sure, companies say it’s faster and better technology, but what does that mean for you?
What Is 5G?
The easy answer is that it is the next generation of wireless network technology. Currently, most of our smartphones and tablets work with 4G (or 4G LTE), which is fourth-generation technology. 5G is simply the next step and is far more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. As part of a text definition, 5G, by design, should be able to handle more connected devices than today’s 4G networks. The hope is that it will allow new technologies that were unable to find success with 4G technologies to become mainstream.
On a technical note, 5G adds three different aspects that make it a bigger deal than 4G: It allows for significantly faster speeds, lower latency (faster response) and simultaneously connecting more devices. On the subject of connecting more devices at once, think about smart devices in your home, office and eventually in your cars. For now, 5G networks are still very much in their infancy. It’s going to take a few years before we see the coverage rival that of today’s widespread 4G networks.
How 5G Works
Depending on your location, there are three basic variations of 5G coverage: low-, mid- and high-band coverage. High-band is a short range 5G network that likely only covers a few blocks from any one tower. This millimeter wave coverage (or mmWave for short) has a limited range requiring denser coverage (think more towers) in a geographic area.
One way high-band 5G carriers are solving this is the use of 5G small cells. Femocells, picocells and microcells can reach anywhere between 10 meters and two kilometers and can dramatically improve 5G coverage in buildings. Because it is a higher band, it also has a more difficult time passing through walls and windows, hence the use of small cells indoors. The good news is that high-band speeds can be super fast. Under ideal conditions, users can hope for speeds between 1Gbps and 3Gbps or higher, which makes it at least 30 times faster than today’s 4G networks.
A more ideal spectrum for 5G, mid-band is able to carry a lot of data with the signal covering more distance from a tower. This is one of the most deployed 5G types around the world right now and will likely be what is found in more urban/metro areas. Also known as Sub-6GHz (less than 6 gigahertz), coverage can carry for at least several miles and does a better job of penetrating walls and buildings than high-band 5G.
Under ideal circumstances, mid-band speeds can be anywhere between 100 MB and 900 MB but as high as 2Gbps. Mid-band generally exists in the 2GHz to 6GHz frequency range, hence it’s Sub-6GHz name. As this is a common frequency around the world, many 5G-ready devices will arrive already supporting this technology.
Transmitting at between 600MHz and 850Mhz, low-band 5G will travel the most distance out of any of the three 5G frequencies. That is especially good news for rural areas where towers may require more distance between them. The flip side to that is this frequency range acts as more of a baseline for putting down blanket coverage than it does real 5G performance.
In this frequency range, customers can expect speeds that are only incrementally better than 4G (30 to 250Mbps) but not much more. The use of low-band 5G is more about providing a wide swath of coverage and speed and will be determined by proximity to the nearest tower. One definite positive note for the lower band is that it is among the best at penetrating walls and windows for indoor coverage.
Benefits of 5G
In a world obsessed with faster downloads and instant gratification, speed matters. This is very much a selling point of 5G. In addition, 5G can handle more connected devices at once than 4G on a single tower, leading to less spotty or slowed service in a crowded area.
When it comes to speed, depending on the type of 5G you are connecting to, the speed can be as much as 10 times faster than 4G. There are some experts who say those speeds can actually reach up to 100 times faster than 4G. In an ideal scenario, you could download a movie in less than 15 seconds whereas it could take as much as 10 minutes with 4G.
The Internet of things will benefit tremendously from 5G. Connecting devices to other devices and allowing them to communicate will offer vast improvements in our daily lives. This technology will likely enable autonomous cars to talk to each other while eliminating potential road dangers.
Cons of 5G
Don’t let online conspiracy theorists fool you. There is no massive 5G threat to taking over your minds, nor is it responsible for the coronavirus. Low-band and mid-band 5G are using the same radio frequencies that have been used for dozens of years, especially in the United States. Instead, the biggest con of 5G right now is likely the time it’s going to take to complete a rollout. Broad networks are expected to be in a good place in 2025 with around 50 percent of all mobile connections being 5G, according to GSMA.
One additional concern about 5G is the security and safety of the networks being built around it. As 5G is likely to power new technology like self-driving cars and healthcare systems, the networks need to be secure against hacking and/or hijacking attempts.
Another con for 5G is that almost everyone will need new devices and technology to take advantage of its improvements. That means new manufacturing equipment for businesses, new smartphones and tablets with 5G modems, etc. Farms will need new 5G-enabled equipment to run a fully-integrated autonomous system for watering and irrigation. The good news is that there is already a good selection of smartphones that incorporate 5G modems from brands like Samsung and Apple.