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Tech review: You paid a ton for your iPhone. How much protection does it need?

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Updated: December 7, 2017 @ 5:34 am

Expert moots protection for internet

Cyber Defense and Security Operation Center of Telekom Security, a business unit of Germany’s telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG, has just opened in Bonn. [Photo/Agencies]

The internet, which has been used as a tool by terrorists for recruitment and for plotting attacks, can well become a terrorist target itself, a China anti-terrorism expert has said.

“Terrorists use the internet to spread their beliefs and set up online training centers to train people to carry out lonewolf attacks. But they may target the internet itself one day creating greater problems. So fighting terrorism on the internet has become a key subject in global counter-terrorism operations,” said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Countries need to reach a consensus on terrorist-related issues in real life so they can better fight terrorism on the internet.

The development of the internet in different countries varies, so bridging the technical gap is also a challenge, he added.

In addition to stopping terrorist acts, the spread of terrorist propaganda online and on social media must be curbed. Much of the content targets young people and lures them into violence.

Chen Weiqiong, an official on the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee, said that fighting online terrorism has become a new challenge and urgent task worldwide as terrorists and terrorist organizations use the internet and social media to recruit, provide training and plot regular attacks.

Also, fighting online terrorism is complicated work that requires understanding of law and knowledge of technical issues. It also requires the involvement of government officials, experts, business owners and the public.

Wang Yong, vice-president of the People’s Public Security University of China, said that terrorist organizations have also adapted to the internet, and as a result they have become more “cunning and flexible”.

Therefore, it is more difficult to detect and eliminate them, he added.

It will be very dangerous if the terrorists use the internet to launch attacks to paralyze daily life, which means they can cause massive chaos without carrying out physical terrorist attacks, said Wang.

The National People’s Congress passed China’s first Cybersecurity Law in November 2016, which allows the authorities to take action against overseas individuals or organizations that harm China’s interests.

A total of 710 people were charged with online crimes in the first nine months of 2017, up 80.7 percent year-on-year.

Cybercrimes of infringement of personal information, online rumor-spreading, cyber blackmail, cyber terrorism and selling drugs online are rising, China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in October.

Free Quad9 internet threat protection launched

IBM Security, Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) have launched a free service designed to block access to millions of malicious websites automatically.

The Quad9 domain name system (DNS) service is aimed at protecting users from websites known to steal personal information, infect users with ransomware and malware, or conduct fraudulent activity.

Cyber criminals are increasingly using tools and techniques to build realistic-looking websites that mimic legitimate companies.

According to those behind the project, Quad9 does not store, correlate or otherwise use any personally identifiable information (PII) from its users, unlike other DNS services that often capture information about the websites consumers visit, devices they use and where they live.

An average of 27% of consumers think they are capable of staying ahead of the latest online threats and only 14% have ever changed the DNS settings on their computer, polls across the UK, the US, France and Germany have revealed.

To take advantage of the security and privacy of Quad9, users need to reconfigure a single setting on their devices to use 9.9.9.9 as their DNS server. 

Full instructions on what a DNS service does and how to switch to Quad9 can be found at www.quad9.net. Quad9 has also laid out the four easy steps for Mac OS and Windows.

As well as PCs and laptops, the protections offered by Quad9 can be extended to all internet connected devices, which often do not receive important security updates and are also difficult to secure with traditional security tools.

With Quad9 used in a home or business network at the router or gateway level, users will have an added level of protection for their IoT devices. These smart devices would also be blocked from accessing remote hosts which have been identified as being harmful or IoT botnets such as Mirai, which infected millions of IoT devices in late 2016.

When a Quad9 user clicks on a website link or types an address into a web browser, Quad9 checks the site against IBM X-Force’s threat intelligence database of more than 40 billion analysed web pages and images. The service also taps feeds from 18 further threat intelligence partners, including Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Bambenek Consulting, F-Secure, mnemonic, 360Netlab, Hybrid Analysis GmbH, Proofpoint, RiskIQ and ThreatSTOP.

Quad9 is designed to provide these protections without affecting the speed that users expect when accessing websites and services.

Using PCH’s global assets around the world, Quad9 has points of presence in more than 70 locations across 40 countries, but the number of points of presence is expected to double in the 18 months to further improve the speed, performance, privacy and security for users globally.

Telemetry data on blocked domains from Quad9 will be shared with threat intelligence partners to improve their threat intelligence responses for their customers and Quad9.

Quad9 began with the GCA, where the intent was to provide security to end users on a global scale by using DNS to deliver a comprehensive threat intelligence feed.

To realise this aim, the GCA provided system development capabilities and brought the threat intelligence community together in collaboration with PCH, which provides Quad9’s network infrastructure; and IBM, which provides IBM X-Force threat intelligence and the easily memorable IP address (9.9.9.9).

Not used widely

“Protecting against attacks by blocking them through DNS has been available for a long time, but has not been used widely,” said Philip Reitinger, president and CEO of the GCA.

“Sophisticated corporations can subscribe to dozens of threat feeds and block them through DNS, or pay a commercial provider for the service. However, small to medium-sized businesses and consumers have been left behind – they lack the resources, are not aware of what can be done with DNS, or are concerned about exposing their privacy and confidential information.”

Bill Woodcock, executive director of PCH, said that through local deployment of technology versus some distant datacentre, Quad9 works to “significantly improve” performance.

“The personal information protections and selectable DNS encryption, DNSSEC, and blocklist that are in place show that this project is in line with PCH’s values,” he said. “Quad9 will inspire trust in both individuals and businesses who understand the importance of securing their private browsing data.”

Jim Brennan, vice-president, strategy and offering management at IBM Security, said taking advantage of threat intelligence is a critical way to stay ahead of cyber criminals.

“Consumers and small businesses traditionally didn’t have free, direct access to the intelligence used by security firms to protect big businesses,” he said. “With Quad9, we are putting that data to work for the industry in an open way and further enriching those insights via the community of users.”

Christine Bejerasco, service lead for consumer RD at F-Secure, said tackling security problems by using key parts of the internet, such as DNS, gives the cyber security industry an opportunity to stop potential compromises.

“A lot of the digital technologies we use were never designed to hold up against the kind of attacks we see today,” she said. “And reinforcing technologies that serve as the backbone of the internet gives users a more secure option to work with.”

UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone

eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone

There are six Urban Armor Gear models, in various colors, available for the Apple iPhone X. I tested four models with my space gray iPhone X and the Monarch remains my favorite, but the clear Pylo may soon move into that position.

see also


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone


iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Which has better business specs?

Here’s how these phones compare for business buyers.

Read More

UAG sent along the Graphite Monarch, Black Pathfinder, Black Trooper, and Ice Plyo cases. These cases range from $34.95 to $59.95, which is reasonable given the construction, style, and protection offered. You can also choose a Plasma or Metropolis series for $39.95 each.

UAG Monarch series

The UAG Monarch series is the top end style at UAG, thanks in large part to its double military standard drop protection and integration of leather and metal hardware in the case. The side honeycomb traction grip looks great and makes it easy to hold onto your Apple iPhone X, which is a very slippery device by itself. The Graphite Monarch perfectly matches my space gray iPhone X.

The long side button has ridges on it to provide great tactile feel so you can easily press it every time. The volume buttons are also raised and easy to activate. There is a large enough opening to activate the ringer switch. Openings are present on the bottom for the Lightning port, speaker, and microphone grilles.

The Monarch series offers five-layers of protection wtih a tough frame piece, top grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, alloy metal hardware torx screws holding the layers secure, and impact resistant rubber. The case meets the 2X military drop-test standards, MIL STD 810G 516.6. It also comes with a 10-year limited warranty, which is longer than anyone ever keeps a smartphone. There is plenty of rubber material in the corners to help with drops and material inside to also protect your phone while it rests in the case.

There is honeycomb patterned material on the sides, that extends around to the back, for excellent grip. There is a large opening in the back for the dual camera and flash. Wireless charging and Apple Pay both work just fine with the iPhone X mounted in the case.

Sometimes cases with drop protection can be a bit bulky and heavy, but that’s one aspect I love about UAG. Its cases provide excellent protection while being fairly light weight due to the composite construction.

The case is available now for $59.95 in Graphite, Platinum, Crimson, Black, and Carbon Fiber. Some of these are new colors for UAG and I may have to give that cool Carbon Fiber one a try soon.


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone


eb626_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection for the best smartphone



















UAG Pathfinder series

The Pathfinder series is the original style and design we saw launch on UAG. It is similar to the Monarch series, but has a simpler back design and is not as robust for drop protection even though it still meets the military drop standard.

The reinforced corners are more pronounced on the Pathfinder while also being angular in design rather than rounded like we see on the Monarch. The same side button and openings are present, but there is not the same side design for improved grip like we see on the Monarch.

The UAG Pathfinder is available for $39.95 in black, white, and orange. Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported by this case as well.

UAG Trooper series

With continued support at retail locations for Apple Pay, I see more and more people using their iPhone and a case as their only wallet. The Trooper series makes this possible with a compartment on the back that can hold up to four credit cards. I used it to carry my office door access card, driver’s license, and ORCA transit pass. The transit pass worked through the case, but my office access system was not able to pick up the card in the case.

This is one UAG case that does have some bulk due to the rear compartment, but it is in depth and not width or much weight. This case is about 18 mm thick, compared to about 11 mm for the Monarch series. Due to this depth, wireless charging is not supported by the Trooper case. Apple Pay does work though. Added depth still feels fine in my hand, but I’m personally not yet ready to commit to such bulk given how pocketable the new iPhone X is in a smaller case.

The buttons and openings are the same as the Monarch with angled corners similar to the Pathfinder. The camera opening is deep due to the rear compartment, but it is also large enough that I haven’t seen any impact on camera performance.

The sides have a matte finish with no texture on them. The back door has a textured pattern on it and an opening on the left side to help you open the rear compartment. There are two hinges for the door and it closes securely.

The Trooper case is available only in black for $39.95. Once you place your iPhone X in this case, it is quite difficult to remove it so be careful when taking out your iPhone. I found pressing in on the camera through the opening to be a good start at removal.

UAG Plyo series

The Plyo series is similar to the Monarch series with rounded corners, textured buttons, and the same openings. However, this case is clear and flexible so it gives you protection with a bit closer feel to naked.

The Plyo series is drop certified thanks to the clear armor shell and air-soft corners that are designed to absorb and spread the impact of a drop. You can see the color and design of your iPhone X through the clear case, which also means it is quite glossy and has fingerprints on the back that are evident.

Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported too. You can see on the back how the center inch or so is pressed against the back of your iPhone while the four sides around this area angle out to the edges.

If you are loking for solid drop protection in a case that doesn’t add much in size, weight, or looks then the Pylo may be what you are looking for. It is available for $39.95 in Ice, Ash, and Crimson.

UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone

8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone

There are six Urban Armor Gear models, in various colors, available for the Apple iPhone X. I tested four models with my space gray iPhone X and the Monarch remains my favorite, but the clear Pylo may soon move into that position.

see also


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone


iPhone X vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Which has better business specs?

Here’s how these phones compare for business buyers.

Read More

UAG sent along the Graphite Monarch, Black Pathfinder, Black Trooper, and Ice Plyo cases. These cases range from $34.95 to $59.95, which is reasonable given the construction, style, and protection offered. You can also choose a Plasma or Metropolis series for $39.95 each.

UAG Monarch series

The UAG Monarch series is the top end style at UAG, thanks in large part to its double military standard drop protection and integration of leather and metal hardware in the case. The side honeycomb traction grip looks great and makes it easy to hold onto your Apple iPhone X, which is a very slippery device by itself. The Graphite Monarch perfectly matches my space gray iPhone X.

The long side button has ridges on it to provide great tactile feel so you can easily press it every time. The volume buttons are also raised and easy to activate. There is a large enough opening to activate the ringer switch. Openings are present on the bottom for the Lightning port, speaker, and microphone grilles.

The Monarch series offers five-layers of protection wtih a tough frame piece, top grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, alloy metal hardware torx screws holding the layers secure, and impact resistant rubber. The case meets the 2X military drop-test standards, MIL STD 810G 516.6. It also comes with a 10-year limited warranty, which is longer than anyone ever keeps a smartphone. There is plenty of rubber material in the corners to help with drops and material inside to also protect your phone while it rests in the case.

There is honeycomb patterned material on the sides, that extends around to the back, for excellent grip. There is a large opening in the back for the dual camera and flash. Wireless charging and Apple Pay both work just fine with the iPhone X mounted in the case.

Sometimes cases with drop protection can be a bit bulky and heavy, but that’s one aspect I love about UAG. Its cases provide excellent protection while being fairly light weight due to the composite construction.

The case is available now for $59.95 in Graphite, Platinum, Crimson, Black, and Carbon Fiber. Some of these are new colors for UAG and I may have to give that cool Carbon Fiber one a try soon.


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone


8d7d8_image-2017-10-31-at-12-05-01-pm UAG Apple iPhone X case roundup: Drop tested protection the best smartphone



















UAG Pathfinder series

The Pathfinder series is the original style and design we saw launch on UAG. It is similar to the Monarch series, but has a simpler back design and is not as robust for drop protection even though it still meets the military drop standard.

The reinforced corners are more pronounced on the Pathfinder while also being angular in design rather than rounded like we see on the Monarch. The same side button and openings are present, but there is not the same side design for improved grip like we see on the Monarch.

The UAG Pathfinder is available for $39.95 in black, white, and orange. Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported by this case as well.

UAG Trooper series

With continued support at retail locations for Apple Pay, I see more and more people using their iPhone and a case as their only wallet. The Trooper series makes this possible with a compartment on the back that can hold up to four credit cards. I used it to carry my office door access card, driver’s license, and ORCA transit pass. The transit pass worked through the case, but my office access system was not able to pick up the card in the case.

This is one UAG case that does have some bulk due to the rear compartment, but it is in depth and not width or much weight. This case is about 18 mm thick, compared to about 11 mm for the Monarch series. Due to this depth, wireless charging is not supported by the Trooper case. Apple Pay does work though. Added depth still feels fine in my hand, but I’m personally not yet ready to commit to such bulk given how pocketable the new iPhone X is in a smaller case.

The buttons and openings are the same as the Monarch with angled corners similar to the Pathfinder. The camera opening is deep due to the rear compartment, but it is also large enough that I haven’t seen any impact on camera performance.

The sides have a matte finish with no texture on them. The back door has a textured pattern on it and an opening on the left side to help you open the rear compartment. There are two hinges for the door and it closes securely.

The Trooper case is available only in black for $39.95. Once you place your iPhone X in this case, it is quite difficult to remove it so be careful when taking out your iPhone. I found pressing in on the camera through the opening to be a good start at removal.

UAG Plyo series

The Plyo series is similar to the Monarch series with rounded corners, textured buttons, and the same openings. However, this case is clear and flexible so it gives you protection with a bit closer feel to naked.

The Plyo series is drop certified thanks to the clear armor shell and air-soft corners that are designed to absorb and spread the impact of a drop. You can see the color and design of your iPhone X through the clear case, which also means it is quite glossy and has fingerprints on the back that are evident.

Apple Pay and wireless charging are supported too. You can see on the back how the center inch or so is pressed against the back of your iPhone while the four sides around this area angle out to the edges.

If you are loking for solid drop protection in a case that doesn’t add much in size, weight, or looks then the Pylo may be what you are looking for. It is available for $39.95 in Ice, Ash, and Crimson.

Microsoft brings Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android

a3d33_microsoft-logo-on-smartphone Microsoft brings Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection to macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android

Microsoft has announced that it is teaming up with Bitdefender, Lookout, and Ziften to expand the reach of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). By partnering with the three major security firms, Microsoft is set to bring ATP to macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices.

Bitdefender, Lookout, and Ziften will all feed threat detection information into one central resource, and this can then be used by security teams to keep an eye on all threats in a single location.

While a trio of partnerships has just been announced, Microsoft says that this is just the start. There will be more strategic partnerships in future to help offer enhanced security for networks and install bases. Every device that is connected to Windows Defender ATP is assigned its own timeline, and it is possible to see event history going back six months.

Microsoft explains:

We have been working closely with our partners to ensure the integration of their solutions with Windows Defender ATP is simple and easy to implement with only a few clicks. There are no requirements for any additional infrastructure, and once the integration is set, new events from on boarded macOS, Linux, iOS and Android devices will start surfacing into the Windows Defender ATP console.

The company details each of the three new partnerships:

  • Bitdefender’s GravityZone Cloud enables customers to view comprehensive threat intelligence information on malware and suspicious files, such as threat type, threat category, and many other relevant details.
  • Lookout Mobile Endpoint Security gives customers real-time visibility into incidents on mobile devices and lets them respond quickly and effectively.
  • Ziften’s Zenith systems and security operations platform helps customers to detect attacks and zero-day exploits, to uncover the full scope of a breach, and to quickly respond to contain attacks.

Bitdefender integration is available right now as a public preview, and Lookout and Ziften will be joining Microsoft’s Public Preview Program very soon.

Image credit: Vladimir Arndt / Shutterstock

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

Image: iStock/Zephyr18

The scourge that is ransomware has been making all sorts of headlines recently. For those infected by this most insidious form of malware, the consequences can be catastrophic, expensive, and more than a little bit embarrassing. But there are ways to protect yourself from the criminals using this technique to make a quick buck.

There are three primary ways to avoid ransomware:

    • Be careful: Don’t just click every link that crosses you path and don’t share authentication information with anyone. Social engineering is still the primary way criminals gain access to your devices.
    • Apply security patches: New security vulnerabilities for just about every operating system and just about every application are being discovered nearly every single day. Applying patches and fixes immediately upon release is just the cost of living in a connected world.
    • Install ransomware protection: Anti-malware security applications are now available to combat this latest threat and should be installed and activated. In fact, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update includes Microsoft’s latest anti-ransomware application as a built-in part of the operating system.

    SEE: 17 tips for protecting Windows computers and Macs from ransomware (TechRepublic PDF)

    You must turn it on

    Oddly enough, you must proactively turn on this new ransomware protection feature since it is off by default. It’s not difficult to do, but as is Microsoft’s way, the option is buried fairly deep in the configuration settings. Here are the steps to turn it on, along with a simple explanation of some of its features.

    Remember, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update must be installed before these settings will apply.

    SEE: Cybersecurity spotlight: The ransomware battle (Tech Pro Research)

    The easiest way to get to the Windows Defender Security Center on your PC is by typing defender into the Cortana search box. The first application in the results should be the Windows Defender Security Center app, and it should look like Figure A.

    Figure A

    90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

    Click the Virus Threat Protection link to get the proper configuration screen, which should look similar to Figure B.

    Figure B

    90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

    Scroll down this screen until you reach the Controlled Folder Access section. You’ll find that the slider button is off by default. Slide it to On, as shown in Figure C, and you should be prompted to approve the change.

    Figure C

    90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

    Once you turn this feature on, two new links will appear under Controlled Folder Access. The Protected Folders link allows you to specify which folders should be included in the protected list. On my PC, the original list did not include the Download folder, for example, so I added it (Figure D).

    Figure D

    90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

    If you ever have a trusted application blocked by this ransomware protection application, you can add it to the trusted list via the Allow An App Through The Controlled Folder Access link (Figure E).

    Figure E

    90033_ephyr18istock-845470768 Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Be proactive and turn on ransomware protection

    SEE: How to get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update early (TechRepublic)

    Be proactive

    Ransomware is more than an annoyance for those dealing with aftermath of being infected. The best way to prevent any malware attack is by being cautious, skeptical, and, above all, proactive. Activating the anti-ransomware app built into the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is one simple and effective way to add protection to your computing devices.

    Also read…

Data protection and edge computing in the Industrial Internet of Things [Q&A]

d2dd2_Industrial-skyline-600x600 Data protection and edge computing in the Industrial Internet of Things [Q&A]

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) takes hold across multiple industries, buzz around edge computing is growing in parallel as operators evolve to push more and more computing power to the edge of their networks, where IIoT functions really live.

The data being generated, however, is now becoming more and more critically important, requiring new levels of protection. We spoke to Jason Andersen, VP of business line management at Stratus Technologies, a provider of availability solutions for edge computing, IIoT and critical infrastructure. Jason offers his insights on the evolution of data criticality and protection as well as unified edge infrastructure as a future platform of the next generation of edge processing.

BN: Edge computing is a hot topic with many organizations beginning to realize its benefits, but what exactly is it?

JA: We look at the edge a little differently than other companies do. Stratus’ almost 40-year history of protecting applications and data as they run in different places in production environments makes our focus on the edge all about the data. Therefore, I’d define it as technology infrastructure located on or near production operations for data collection, analysis and storage.

But it’s also important to distinguish edge computing from data center computing. At the edge, mission-critical operations may have little to no available local IT support, meaning locally the ability to maintain the unique connectivity and security requirements may be limited.

BN: In your experience working with clients across industries, how have you seen IIoT and the importance of data evolve?

JA: Uninterrupted production and driving new cost efficiencies will always be priorities for driving value with IIoT. More and more, however, I’ve seen enterprises evolve to adopt hybrid clouds to more efficiently distribute workloads for mission-critical functions, real-time processing and more. As automation increases, data is what will make the IIoT a long-term business imperative and what will create the next great competitive differentiator for industrial operators. As usage increases, the criticality of data will also increase and therefore must be protected.

Another shift I’ve seen is related to the evolution of IoT devices themselves, which are becoming less expensive and more powerful and producing a lot more data. This is changing how technology is managed, leading to the emergence of a new role I like to call ‘hybrid OT’ — operators who will have to be more technically proficient at bridging the gap between the two worlds of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to really drive value with IIoT.

BN: You’ve mentioned the importance of protecting critical data in IIoT. What are the top techniques for doing so?

JA: Protecting important data must involve ensuring the health of reliable infrastructure, predictive serviceability, performance applications and secure connectivity. Protecting hardware is only one small element of this and I believe there is a great need for a unified edge infrastructure that evolves existing products and service capabilities. Something that combines both the unified stack of IIoT applications and hardware with a further consolidated IT infrastructure, as well as a comprehensive predictive service model will be key.

I believe this will be the future platform of next generation edge processing and will massively simplify edge solutions to reduce costs and minimize the burden on IT. It will enable OT to lead the IIoT transformation and eliminate production downtime.

BN: Protecting data is of great importance, but how key are next-generation analytics and artificial intelligence technologies going to be in the next 3-5 years?

JA: In order for industrial companies to be successful with data analytics, operators need to realize that the data being produced is the most precious asset of their IIoT efforts. However, current analytics capabilities and products are only the tip of a very large iceberg. Looking forward, next-generation analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will play a major role in providing real-time decision-making at the point of production. With AI, we can better leverage data to drive insights that allow operations to run autonomously and help businesses compete more effectively in today’s economy.

Image Credit: panimoni / depositphotos.com

Google didn’t alter Factory Reset Protection in Android 8.1, isolated bug w/ lock patterns

Following last week’s release of the Android 8.1 Developer Preview, new functionality is still being uncovered. Yesterday, one possible feature emerged, suggesting that Android was making a critical change to Factory Reset Protection. However, Google has confirmed to us that this is not the case and that a bug is to blame.


4e88d_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Google didn't alter Factory Reset Protection in Android 8.1, isolated bug w/ lock patterns

Nintendo Switch

Introduced with Android Lollipop, Factory Reset Protection is a measure designed to prevent nefarious parties from wiping and flashing stolen devices. At first boot, the new owner would have to sign-in with the Google account previously associated with that phone or tablet.

Yesterday morning, a Pixel 2 XL user running Android 8.1 documented forgetting their recently set screen lock pattern. Having no other remedy, the user factory reset the device in hopes of using their Google account credentials to regain access.

However, once on the “Verify your account” page noting that the “device was reset,” this user reported only having the ability to enter the forgotten Pattern. The expected option of being able to “sign in with a Google Account” was absent. At the time, some speculated that was a new security measure by Google to further deter device theft.

However, that is not the case. Google has confirmed to us that Developer Preview 1 of Android 8.1 has a bug relating to lockscreen patterns. Users in a similar scenario that set a PIN or password would be able to bypass Factory Reset Protection with their Google account.

According to Google, the bug will be resolved in the next developer preview that is scheduled to come later in the month.

The user in this case was fortunately able to get Google to replace the device via an RMA, but this incident does serve as a reminder that bugs are expected in any Developer Preview.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

Android 8.1 Adds Status Bar Icon that tells you if Factory Reset Protection is on

Factory Reset Protection was first included in Android 5.1 Lollipop, which was released in March 2015. It is intended to be an anti-theft feature as it closes a loophole which existed on most Android devices before the feature was included.

Before Factory Reset Protection, lock screen security could be bypassed if recovery access was available on Android, as the stock recovery on many Android phones allowed anyone to factory reset the phone. If the phone was factory reset, that meant its lock screen security had been wiped out and a potential thief could unlock the phone and use it. That meant the whole purpose of lock screen security was made ineffective, and so to rectify this, Google released Android 5.1 Lollipop with Factory Reset Protection, and most phones released with Lollipop and above have shipped with Factory Reset Protection.

Factory Reset Protection means that if any user has an active Google account on their phone before factory resetting it, then the Google account will not be wiped out even after the factory reset, no matter how the factory reset was performed. The Google account which had been added before would not be removed and unless the person factory resetting it knew the account’s password, there was no way to unlock and setup the phone.

The feature has been proven to work, even though there are still many consumers who aren’t aware of it. Google has now started increasing advertising it, and as such, in Android 8.1 Oreo, the company has added a new status bar icon on the Android start screen that tells the user whether factory reset protection is on or not.

29f2f_pixel_2_xl_factoryresetprotection1-225x300 Android 8.1 Adds Status Bar Icon that tells you if Factory Reset Protection is on

29f2f_pixel_2_xl_factoryresetprotection1-225x300 Android 8.1 Adds Status Bar Icon that tells you if Factory Reset Protection is on

The new status bar icon on the Android start screen in Android 8.1 was reported by Reddit user Scrapshark, who saw it on his Google Pixel 2 XL after factory resetting his device. This new icon benefits second-hand phone buyers, as they can now check that the phone isn’t locked right after booting the device.


Source: u/Scrapshark

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with …

26c4e_Windows-10-Fall-Creators-Update-leaves Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with ...

Ransomware is one of the most concerning, and the most prevalent, forms of malware around at the moment. While there are numerous security tools out there that you can install to keep yourself protected, if you have upgraded to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update you have a built-in tool at your disposal.

Called Controlled Folder Access, the feature locks down files and folders to protect them against unwanted changes — including encryption by ransomware. It’s not enabled by default, so here’s what you need to do.

If you’ve been involved in the Windows Insider program, you may well be aware of Controlled Folder Access, but it’s only with the official rollout of Fall Creators Update that the feature is reaching a wider audience. To enable it, you’ll need to access Windows Defender either via the icon in the notification area of the taskbar, or via Update Security in Windows’ Settings.

Once in the Windows Defender Security Center, click Virus threat protection followed by Virus threat protection settings. Locate the Controlled folder access setting and flick the toggle to the On position.

26c4e_Windows-10-Fall-Creators-Update-leaves Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with ...

It is also possible to Use Group Policy to enable Controlled folder access, as Microsoft explains:

  1. On your Group Policy management machine, open the Group Policy Management Console, right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure and click Edit.
  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor go to Computer configuration.
  3. Click Policies then Administrative templates.
  4. Expand the tree to Windows components Windows Defender Antivirus Windows Defender Exploit Guard Controlled folder access.
  5. Double-click the Configure Controlled folder access setting and set the option to Enabled. In the options section you must specify one of the following:
    • Enable — Malicious and suspicious apps will not be allowed to make changes to files in protected folders. A notification will be provided in the Windows event log
    • Disable (Default) — The Controlled folder access feature will not work. All apps can make changes to files in protected folders.
    • Audit Mode — If a malicious or suspicious app attempts to make a change to a file in a protected folder, the change will be allowed but will be recorded in the Windows event log. This allows you to assess the impact of this feature on your organization.

Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

This tutorial was written by Tom’s Hardware Community member knanan. You can find a list of all their tutorials here.

Ransomware has become one of the most lucrative types of cyberattacks in recent memory. These past couple of years have seen the number of ransomware attacks grow in both frequency and sophistication. As its name suggests, this type of attack works by infecting users’ PCs and denying them access to their device or files unless a ransom is paid. In response, Microsoft has introduced a new security feature called Controlled Folder Access to mitigate the danger posed by ransomware.

At its core, Controlled Folder Access is a component of Windows Defender that restricts applications from making modifications to certain protected folders. In this guide, we will outline the steps to enable Controlled Folder Access, whitelist apps, and add protected folders.

Note that Controlled Folder Access was introduced in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16232. To ensure that this feature is available to you, verify that you’re running the latest Windows Insider build. Once you’ve verified that you have the latest updates for Windows 10, you can follow the steps below.

Enable Controlled Folder Access

1. Go to Settings – Update Security – Windows Defender

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

2. On the Windows Defender screen, click Open Windows Defender to open the Windows Defender Security Center

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

3. On the left side of the Windows Defender Security Center screen, go to Virus threat protection (the icon that looks like a shield) and click Virus and threat protection settings.

4. Now scroll down to Controlled Folder Access and toggle the switch to the “On” position.

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Whitelist An App

Under the Controlled Folder Access section simply:

1. Click the “Allow an app through Controlled folder access” option followed by “Add an allowed app (+).”

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

2. Now, navigate to the location of the app you would like to have whitelisted. Using this option will allow you to specify apps that you would like to exempt from the Controlled Folder Access restriction.

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Add A Protected Folder

Under the Controlled Folder Access section simply:

1. Click the “Protected folders” option followed by “Add a protected folder (+).”

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

 Tutorial: Enabling Ransomware Protection With The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

2. Now, navigate to the location of the folder you wish to protect by restricting access.

Note that existing Windows library folders like Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Videos, and Music are already set by default and cannot be removed. Adding more folders that contain important information is crucial in the defense against ransomware attacks.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with Controlled Folder Access

718c3_Windows-10-Fall-Creators-Update-leaves Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with Controlled Folder Access

Ransomware is one of the most concerning, and the most prevalent, forms of malware around at the moment. While there are numerous security tools out there that you can install to keep yourself protected, if you have upgraded to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update you have a built-in tool at your disposal.

Called Controlled Folder Access, the feature locks down files and folders to protect them against unwanted changes — including encryption by ransomware. It’s not enabled by default, so here’s what you need to do.

If you’ve been involved in the Windows Insider program, you may well be aware of Controlled Folder Access, but it’s only with the official rollout of Fall Creators Update that the feature is reaching a wider audience. To enable it, you’ll need to access Windows Defender either via the icon in the notification area of the taskbar, or via Update Security in Windows’ Settings.

Once in the Windows Defender Security Center, click Virus threat protection followed by Virus threat protection settings. Locate the Controlled folder access setting and flick the toggle to the On position.

718c3_Windows-10-Fall-Creators-Update-leaves Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers ransomware protection with Controlled Folder Access

It is also possible to Use Group Policy to enable Controlled folder access, as Microsoft explains:

  1. On your Group Policy management machine, open the Group Policy Management Console, right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure and click Edit.
  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor go to Computer configuration.
  3. Click Policies then Administrative templates.
  4. Expand the tree to Windows components Windows Defender Antivirus Windows Defender Exploit Guard Controlled folder access.
  5. Double-click the Configure Controlled folder access setting and set the option to Enabled. In the options section you must specify one of the following:
    • Enable — Malicious and suspicious apps will not be allowed to make changes to files in protected folders. A notification will be provided in the Windows event log
    • Disable (Default) — The Controlled folder access feature will not work. All apps can make changes to files in protected folders.
    • Audit Mode — If a malicious or suspicious app attempts to make a change to a file in a protected folder, the change will be allowed but will be recorded in the Windows event log. This allows you to assess the impact of this feature on your organization.

Please activate the anti-ransomware protection in your Windows 10 …

A below-the-radar security feature in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, aka version 1709 released last week, can stop ransomware and other file-scrambling nasties dead.

The controlled folder access mechanism within Windows Defender prevents suspicious applications from changing the contents of selected protected folders.

Though controlled folder access has been known about for months – it surfaced with Insider builds earlier this summer – the feature is only now being thrust into the spotlight with the general public release of the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10.

The feature can be enabled through the Windows Defender Security Center App for most users, and is accessed by opening the virus threat protection screen within Defender. From there, users switch on the controlled folder access option to activate controlled folders.

ac037_mixedreality Please activate the anti-ransomware protection in your Windows 10 ...

Windows Fall Creators Update is here: What do you want first – bad news or good news?

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For enterprise users and administrators, controlled folder access can also be activated through PowerShell, Group Policy, and MDM configurations.

Once the feature has been activated, essential directories like the user’s documents folder are locked off from any malicious applications that seek to encrypt files to hold them to ransom, or scramble them to destroy them. Users can also designate additional folders to be protected from unauthorized changes.

The idea is to safeguard data from any ransomware infections that manage to give your third-party antivirus, if present, the slip.

“This feature protects your files from tampering, in real-time, by locking folders so that ransomware and other unauthorized apps can’t access them. It’s like putting your crown jewels in a safe whose key only you hold,” explained Microsoft today.

“Cybercriminals can’t extort money if they can’t encrypt your files. Controlled folder access is a powerful tool that can render ransomware attacks worthless.”

Intent is all well and good, but how does the new Windows 10 security feature perform in the wild? According to researchers, the initial results have been encouraging. The mechanism was able to stop the Locky ransomware.

It goes without saying, those who can activate the controlled folder access on their Windows machines should definitely do so.

Meanwhile, in Azure land…

Microsoft has inked a deal with Cray to allow folks to run one of the latter’s supercomputers inside an Azure data center.

The idea, as reported by our sister site The Next Platform, is to allow organizations to deploy high-performance applications on Cray iron right next to code and data in cloud services on Azure. ®

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Windows 10 “TruePlay”: Microsoft Adds New Anti-Cheat Protection For Gamers

In case you’re a gamer, there are chances that you might be running Windows on your machine. In the recent years, Linux distros for gaming have made their presence felt, but they still have a lot of ground to cover.

For game developers who wish to stop the cheaters from showing off their tricks during the gameplay, Microsoft has added a new system-level API with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Named TruePlay, this new feature will help the developers take better control of games and tag it as a protected process. This will let the game detect and stop outside attacks, including programs that alter game’s memory.

In case the background mechanism finds any mischief, the payer will be alerted. The related data can also be sent to the game developer–this data sharing only takes place in case a cheating effort is detected. In case, you’re too skeptical about your data, you have an option to disable the feature as well.

This feature was first teased in the Windows 10 Preview builds released in June. Back then, it was called Game Monitor.

As a result of this feature, in the upcoming months, we can expect games to ship with TruePlay support enabled. It’s also worth noting that Windows 10 TruePlay is only available for Windows Universal Platform games.

Did you find TruePlay feature exciting enough? Don’t forget to share your views with us.

Also Read: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Features: What’s New In The Big Release

Windows 10 now includes anti-cheat protection for games – Engadget

Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update is full of changes, but one of the understated additions could make a big difference if you’re a gamer. Microsoft has switched on its previously teased TruePlay feature, which promises to protect against “common” cheats in Universal Windows Platform games. Titles that take advantage of the safeguard will both run in a protected mode and trigger a background service that watches for typical cheating behavior. If they find anything amiss, they’ll send data to the developer. You can switch off TruePlay if you’re nervous about Windows transmitting your data, but companies can limit what you’re allowed to do (playing online, for example) if you don’t have it enabled.

Windows 10 now includes anti-cheat protection for games

Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update is full of changes, but one of the understated additions could make a big difference if you’re a gamer. Microsoft has switched on its previously teased TruePlay feature, which promises to protect against “common” cheats in Universal Windows Platform games. Titles that take advantage of the safeguard will both run in a protected mode and trigger a background service that watches for typical cheating behavior. If they find anything amiss, they’ll send data to the developer. You can switch off TruePlay if you’re nervous about Windows transmitting your data, but companies can limit what you’re allowed to do (playing online, for example) if you don’t have it enabled.

Google’s Advanced Protection helps high-risk internet users

9310f_google-gettyimages-486234008 Google's Advanced Protection helps high-risk internet users

Google says the program is for a small subset of users who are at greater risk than most.


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google released on Tuesday a new security feature specifically for people with Google accounts who are at higher-than-normal risk of getting hacked.

The Advanced Protection Program was created for folks like campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists needing to protect confidential sources and people in abusive relationships who are seeking safety. 

Google took the unusual step of creating a program for this small subset of users because of their greater risk online and because they’ve been previously overlooked for additional protections, Dario Salice, Google’s Advanced Protection product manager, said in a blog post.

With the reference to campaign workers, it seems clear that Google is responding to months of news reports about Russian hacking of the 2016 US presidential election that have put a harsh spotlight on Google, Facebook and Twitter. Google has also been working on other new security measures since disclosing that Russia-linked ads on its search engine may have been used to influence last year’s election.

The Advanced Protection Program provides a series of extra security barriers. To log in to their Gmail and other Google accounts, people enrolled in the program will need a physical security key that plugs into a USB port or they need a verification code. Google also has limited the number of apps that can fully access Gmail and Drive accounts. For now, these will include only Google apps, but Google expects to expand the number of apps.

Also, if you (or someone impersonating you) tells Google you’ve been locked out of your account, Google will take additional steps to review the request and ask for more details about why you lost access to your account.

For now, the program is only available for consumer Google accounts, but Google said anyone with a Google account can enroll.