Category Archives: Electronics

Son of Heartbleed poses a major new threat to the internet

OptionsBleed is the name of a new major vulnerability which potentially threatens to expose data from servers in a similar sort of way that Heartbleed did a few years back.

If you recall, Heartbleed was the critical bug which made headlines in 2014, a vulnerability in OpenSSL which could be exploited to (relatively) easily pilfer data from a server (including the likes of security keys, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive details).

OptionsBleed is different in that it’s a bug in the Apache Web Server (as opposed to OpenSSL) leveraged by making HTTP OPTIONS requests (hence the name) in order to potentially cause data leakage as Heartbleed did.

The problem was first uncovered by security researcher Hanno Böck, but the good news is it’s far less widespread and serious than Heartbleed was.

As security firm Sophos reports, Böck’s testing found 466 incidents of OptionsBleed leakage from a million web servers, and given that around 40% of those would likely be running Apache, that means the bug was only triggered in 0.12% of vulnerable systems.

Deliberate provocation

Still, we shouldn’t underestimate the potential havoc that OptionsBleed could wreak, particularly now that knowledge of it has become widespread.

As Sophos observes: “It’s important to remember that on a server that’s hosting many different domains for many virtual hosts in many different directory trees, one malevolent customer could provoke this bug by deliberately setting an invalid option in their own .htaccess, and then repeatedly visiting one of their own URLs to see what data might leak out.”

A patch for the vulnerability is available from the Apache source code servers, but we’ve heard no official word from Apache on this matter yet, and it’s uncertain whether this fix is the best route to take – as you’ll need to apply the patch manually. Hopefully we’ll get an official security update from Apache before long.


Amazon Great Indian Festival: Best deals on laptops

The festival season is just around the corner and Amazon India is back with its Amazon Great Indian Festival sale. To celebrate the festive season, Amazon is offering deals across a wide range of products from phones, electronics, fashion, home & kitchen products, etc. The sale will start at 12 PM on September 21 and will last till September 24.

Amazon Prime members will have the first pick at all the deals as they will enjoy early access to all deals. Prime members will be able to avail the offers one day in advance, i.e, they can buy the products at a discounted price from 12PM on September 20. In this post, we will cover the best deals on laptops.

Apple MacBook Air MQD32HN/A at Rs 55,990 @ Amazon (save Rs 22,210)

The Apple MacBook Air MQD32HN/A comes with a 13.3-inch screen, Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD and runs on MacOS Sierra operating system. It is currently being offered at Rs. 55,990, after a discount of Rs. 22,210.

HP 15-BE002TX at Rs. 44,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 8,301)

The HP 15-BE002TX features a 15.6-inch display, sixth generation Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon R5 M430 2GB Graphics, 8GB RAM, 1TB internal storage and runs on Windows 10 Home. It is available for Rs. 44,990 after a discount of Rs. 8,301.

Dell Vostro 3468 at Rs. 25,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 7,500)

The Dell Vostro 3468 comes with a 14-inch screen, a seventh generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Ubuntu 14.04. It is currently being sold at Rs. 25,990 after a discount of Rs. 7,500.

Lenovo ideapad110 at Rs. 19,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 7,000)

Lenovo ideapad110 features a 15.6-inch display, a sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and runs on DOS. You can buy the ideapad110 for Rs. 19,990 after a discount of Rs. 7,000.

HP 15-be016TU at Rs. 24,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 6,610)

The HP 15-be016TU comes with a 15.6-inch screen, a sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics 520, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on FreeDOS 2.0. It is available for Rs. 24,990 after a discount of Rs. 6,610.

Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XL0376IN at Amazon @ Rs. 34,990 (save Rs. 6,000)

The Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XL0376IN comes with a 15.6-inch display, a seventh generation Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB NVIDIA Graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on FreeDOS. It is available at a price of Rs. 34,990 after a discount of Rs. 6,000.

Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XH01FHIN at Amazon @ Rs. 27,990 (save Rs. 6,000)

The Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XH01FHIN features a 15.6-inch screen, a sixth generation Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Windows 10. You can buy it for Rs. 27,990 after a discount of Rs. 6,000.

HP 15-BU004TU at Rs. 24,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 5,700)

The HP 15-BU004TU comes with a 15.6-inch screen, a sixth generation Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on FreeDOS. It is available for Rs. 24,990 after a discount of Rs. 5,700.

HP 15-BU008TX at Rs. 29,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 5,000)

The HP 15-BU008TX comes with a 15.6-inch screen, a sixth generation Core i3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on FreeDOS. It is available for Rs. 29,990 after a discount of Rs. 5,000.

HP Notebook 14-BU008TU at Rs. 36,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 4,000)

The HP Notebook 14-BU008TU comes with a 14-inch display, a seventh generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD Graphics 620, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Windows 10 Home. It come at a price of Rs. 36,990 after a discount of Rs. 4,000.

Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XL0378IN at Rs. 39,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 4,000)

The Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XL0378IN comes with a 15.6-inch screen, a seventh generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Windows 10 Home. It is available for Rs. 39,990 after a discount of Rs. 4,000.

Acer Switch 10E SW3-016 at Rs. 11,999 @ Amazon (save Rs. 3,991)

The Acer Switch 10E SW3-016 is a budget laptop and comes with a 10.1-inch screen, Atom X5 processor, Intel HD Graphics, 2GB RAM, 32GB internal storage and runs on Windows 10 Home. It is available for Rs. 3,991 after a discount of Rs. 11,999.

HP 14-BU006TU at Rs. 28,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 3,500)

The HP 14-BU006TU comes with a 14-inch screen, a sixth generation Core i3 processor, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Windows 10. You can get the HP 14-BU006TU for Rs. 28,990 after a discount of Rs. 3,500.

Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XH01GKIN at Rs. 23,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 3,500)

The Lenovo Ideapad 320E 80XH01GKIN comes with a 15.6-inch display, a sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on FreeDOS. It is available for Rs. 23,990 after a discount of Rs. 3,500.

Dell Vostro 3468 at Rs. 31,990 @ Amazon (save Rs. 3,000)

The Dell Vostro 3468 comes with a 14-inch screen, a seventh generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel HD Graphics, 4GB RAM, 1TB SATA hard drive and runs on Windows 10. It is available for Rs. 31,990 after a discount of Rs. 3,000.


Andromeda OS is Microsoft’s big plan to make Windows 10 fully modular

Microsoft’s vision for the future of Windows 10 is to morph the OS into an entirely modular system whereby features can be bolted on (or removed) and tailored specifically to the device the software will be running on.

This is known as Andromeda OS internally at Microsoft, and sources have spilled the beans on the project to Windows Central.

Rather than having different variants of Windows 10 which are based on the same core aspects, but are still different – like desktop Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, or Windows 10 IoT Core – the idea is just to have one version of the OS consisting of components which are fully modular.

Therefore depending on what device the operating system will be used on, components or features can be stripped away or added as necessary. This will allow the OS to be fully customized to the hardware in question, and also fully streamlined with no unnecessary bloat.

The overall idea is to make the operating system far more nimble and able to more swiftly adapt to emerging devices like, for example, wearables – or even entirely new categories of hardware which may turn up in the future.

Mobile first

According to Windows Central, we can expect the first incarnation of Andromeda OS to be focused on mobile devices initially, such as phones and tablets, and possibly even wearables, and it’s expected to be ready at some point next year.

Of course, there is already speculation that perhaps this is the operating system we’ll see on the heavily rumored Surface Phone. Although expecting a new device to pitch up running this OS in 2018 would be wildly optimistic. We’re betting this is going to be arriving much further down the line than that…

At any rate, this is obviously a sensible direction for Microsoft to be heading in, and it is likely a continuation of work which has been going on for some time post-Windows 7 – although perhaps not under the name Andromeda.

And of course Andromeda OS fits neatly in with the company’s CShell initiative, a new Windows Shell aiming to produce a scalable and flexible UI to work better across a range of devices.

Oddly enough, Google also had a project which went under the codename of Andromeda that we heard had been shelved back in the summer – and it happened to be the company’s big idea to merge Android and Chrome OS. It has apparently been dropped in favor of spiritual successor project Fuchsia.

  • How long will it be before Andromeda-flavored Windows 10 graces our best laptops?


Google Pixelbook emerges as firm’s first 2-in-1 laptop, and it’s pricey

The latest major leak ahead of next month’s anticipated Google Pixel 2 reveal is a third Chromebook from the product maker, known as the Google Pixelbook, Droid Life reports.

The flagship Chrome OS device may come packing some serious hardware inside a 2-in-1 laptop form factor for a considerable premium: starting at $1,199 (about £887, AU$1,496) and topping out at $1,749 (about £1,294, AU$2,183). But, that’s not even the end of the rumored cost: Google will offer up a pressure-sensitive stylus allegedly known as the ‘Pixelbook Pen’ for $99 (about £73, AU$123).

Droid Life wasn’t able to glean much from its alleged sources in regards to specs, but claims to have learned of three internal flash storage options: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. That’s $1,199, $1,399 (about £1,035, AU$1,746) and $1,749, respectively.

According to Droid Life’s sources, the Pixelbook Pen will also support tilt detection as well as produce supposedly no lag between motion and digital ink appearing on-screen.

Based on the images dug up by the outlet, the alleged Pixelbook will borrow liberally from Google’s Pixel two-tone design ethos found in its line of phones, right down to the stylus.

It looks a lot like the Pixel phones, right? Image Credit: Droid Life

Sadly, that’s about all that is known of the Pixelbook and its stylus so far, based on the claims of Droid Life’s sources.

However, such a product would make a lot of sense, if you consider Google’s stakes in the Chromebook business and the claims made here. Google has a vested interest in driving pick-up on hybrid or 2-in-1 Chromebooks with touchscreens and stylus support, having worked with partners like Samsung with its Chromebook Pro and Asus with its Chromebook Flip.

Now, what better way to do that than to show the industry how it’s done? We’ve seen this exact same strategy work out well for Microsoft, having spurred the Windows tablet market with its Surface Pro line of products.

Stay tuned for all of our coverage of Google’s Pixel 2 reveal on October 4, as you can count on the TechRadar Computing team watching with bated breath for this particular leak to come true.

  • How long before the fabled Pixelbook joins the pantheon of best laptops?

Via Android Police

Lead Image Credit: Droid Life


How to free up space on your iOS device

Device capacity

Update: iOS 11 is out now! It’s 1.7GB in size, so if you’re concerned at all about space, you may want to follow these tips to make some room on your iOS device.

Computers used to be all about expandability. Essentially you owned a box that could be tailored to your needs as your requirements evolved. A popular upgrade path was storage, adding new hard drives as your files grew in size and number. But with Apple’s touchscreen revolution, everything changed.

The iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are more like appliances than ‘traditional’ computers – they’re sealed boxes that forever remain as they were the moment you purchased them. You can no more extend their storage capabilities than you can add a new compartment to your fridge-freezer.

A quick look at Apple’s modern hardware suggests its entire line-up is heading in the same direction, but iOS devices are more restricted than Apple’s desktops and notebooks. After all, if you need more storage for a MacBook Air, you at least have the option of offloading large documents to an external hard drive (and, of course, then sensibly backing up that data along with the internal drive’s, either locally or to an online service such as CrashPlan).

But iOS devices aren’t designed that way. They don’t have a USB port or a user-accessible file structure. The intention is that you store everything on the device itself (well, almost everything – services like iTunes Match enable you to grab your music from the cloud).

Therefore, an important tip when it comes to better iOS device storage and management comes at the moment of purchase: buy the model with the most storage that you can afford, unless you’re absolutely convinced you won’t need it.

Even then, reconsider; be mindful that as technology evolves, demands for storage increase. Retina screens require larger applications, and iOS cameras can shoot HD video, which requires a huge amount of space.

Also, demands on iOS devices are increasing purely on the basis of what they can now do. People frequently shoot and edit video, work with photography, read magazines and compose music on iPads and iPhones. All these things require lots of storage.

If your device gets really full, it alerts you. Also, things stop working. You won’t be able to install new apps or shoot video new footage. You may find that updating apps becomes problematic, because the device doesn’t have enough space to download, unpack and install updates before deleting older versions.

We offer advice for dealing with such a situation, along with managing iOS storage in general. Note that this isn’t intended as a start-to-finish walkthrough, more a series of ideas that can be utilised to free up space.

As ever, we should stress the importance of back-ups before making major changes to iOS devices. Even if you’re backing up to iCloud, make the occasional local back-up (select your device in iTunes and click ‘Back Up Now’ on the Summary page).

Local backups are also useful when it comes to dealing with app data, because you can later use iExplorer to fish out settings and other documents from such a backup, even if those things have long been removed from your device. Also ensure before making any major changes in terms of deleting content that you don’t only have said content on your iOS device.

For music, sync your device with iTunes to transfer tracks to your Mac (although you can grab previous purchases from iTunes, if necessary). For photos and movies, transfer them across by attaching your device to your Mac via USB, launching iPhoto, selecting the device and clicking the Import button.

How to manage iOS device storage

1. Check device capacity in iTunes

Although iOS devices no longer require iTunes, Apple’s desktop app remains useful from a device management standpoint. Connect your device (via USB or over Wi-Fi) and select it from the Devices button. Across the bottom of the window, you see a chart detailing what’s taking up room: audio, photos, apps, books and ‘other’.

If storage is an issue, you could free some up. For example, if you’ve lots of music or photos on your device, select the relevant tab, uncheck the sync box and then sync your device. The relevant media is removed. You can then perform updates and manage your apps, perhaps free up more space, and later restore your media by resyncing it.

Occasionally, you might find the ‘other’ section becomes massive. In our experience, this is usually down to you having a lot of in-app data (see Step 3) or failed app updates, which can happen on trying to update without enough free space. Resyncing should help; if not, a restore from a local backup.

2. Discover app sizes

App sizes

Apps can be massive. Sizes are shown in iTunes and the App Store, but that’s the size of the compressed download. Once installed, an app’s size can balloon.

In iTunes, check app sizes by clicking on the Apps tab and selecting Sort by Size from the pop-up menu at the top of the apps list. Peruse the list, and if there are apps or games you no longer use, consider deleting them. You can do so by clicking Remove in iTunes; when you’ve done so for all apps you’d like to delete, click Sync.

Alternatively, tap-hold an app on your device to make all the icons jiggle and, for each, tap the cross icon and then ‘Delete’ to remove it.

3. Examine app data

iPad memory

Open the Settings app on your device and in the General category, select Usage. You see available and used storage and a list of apps. These are ordered by the total amount of space they require, including app data.

Newsstand and similar apps tend to be storage-hungry. Their containers might be small, but the actual magazines rarely are. If you want to see how much space an app’s data is using, tap the app in the list and look at the Documents & Data figure.

If you’ve several such apps taking up loads of room you need, consider deleting data. For example, if you subscribe to magazines, delete old issues from within each app. You can usually redownload issues later if you need to. If you fancy taking a speedy option and don’t have a capped broadband connection, deleting a Newsstand app takes all its data with it. You can then download a fresh copy from the App Store and the latest issue.

Magazine and book apps aren’t the only storage culprits, note. Dropbox can (optionally) store documents locally (by flagging them as favourites) and some video apps have download capability, so check those too.

4. Back-up app content

Should you no longer use a game or creative app, but think you might one day return to it, download its data to your Mac using the free version of iExplorer (

Connect your device to your Mac via USB, select Apps from iExplorer’s sidebar and select the app in question. Select the Documents and Library folders, Ctrl-click and select Export to Folder. (Alternatively drag them to a Finder folder.)

The contents of these folders can later be sideloaded into a fresh install of the app, meaning you won’t lose your progress in a game that doesn’t support iCloud, or could get saved compositions from a music-app back to your device with a minimum of fuss.

5. Use last-chance folders

If you tend to frequently download new apps, chances are some fall out of favour, but you might not necessarily know which. Create date-based folders (07-2013, say) and place apps within that you don’t think you use any more. If you find yourself using one, ‘rescue’ it from the folder. Otherwise, delete the folder’s contents after a few months, first backing up app data as necessary.

(Note: if you don’t download apps to iTunes on your Mac, sync with it before deleting the apps, so you’ve a back-up you can later install to your device. You can of course redownload apps from the App Store, but only if they are still made available to you.)

This is a fairly ruthless app-management method, but it’s useful for keeping installs current and ensuring you have space.


Flipkart rolls out new features on its mobile app

With the onset of festival season in India, the online retailers have geared up to serve best deals and offer to their customers. Big players in the online shopping sphere like Amazon and Flipkart have already announced their sales where they will be offering a bundle of offers and discounts on numerous products. Interestingly, both the Amazon’s Great Indian Sale and Flipkart’s Big Billion Days will be happening this week from September 20 to September 24. So, this will turn out to be a bonanza week for the buyers.

Adding flavour to this extravaganza, Flipkart has started to offer EMI on debit cards to its customers on its mobile app. For this, the e-commerce company has partnered with HDFC and Axis bank. The bank is offering this feature at a slightly higher interest rate of more than 15%. However, no processing fee is charged during the transaction. The EMI offer is available on selected goods falling under the categories like consumer electronics, furniture etc. Also, the users can avail this offer with zero balance in their account.

To avail the offer, users need to click on “HDFC Consumer Durable Loan” under the EMI section while checking out the product. After selecting the loan period and making the payment via debit card an OTP will be sent to the user for verifying the purchase. Once the user confirms the purchase amount, it will be converted into EMI. Also, if the user buys the product before 20th of the month, the EMI will be applicable from 5th of the coming month. In case, if the purchase is made after 20th, the EMI will be payable from the 5th of next to next month.

The e-commerce giant is also offering a Festive Pass to its customers at Rs 99 from Oct 5. To avail this offer, the customers have to register themselves before Sep 30. Under the Festive Pass, customers will get Hotstar Premium membership for three months, three-month subscription to Gaana+, a discount of 10% on purchase of anything above Rs 1000, free delivery on all Flipkart Assured items etc.

Apart from these, options like No Cost EMI’s, Product Exchange offers, Buyback Guarantee, Pay Later will also be available to the customers during the Big Billion Day sale. There’s also a 10% cashback on all payments made using PhonePe.


The best rugged tablets 2017: the best drop-proof tablets you can buy

If you work outside, or in a busy environment where accidents can occur, then you’ll want the very best rugged tablet. These tablets boast many of the features regular tablets offer, such as bright and vibrant touchscreens, huge collections of apps, and easy-to-carry designs, while also adding a layer of ruggedness that keeps them protected.

The best rugged tablet will feature reinforced screens to stop them cracking, and durable bodies that won’t break if you drop them. However, they should also maintain their slim and light designs.

While you won’t get a rugged tablet that’s as slim and light as the iPad Air 2, it doesn’t mean you should have to lug around a chunky and unwieldy tablet either.

So, to help you find the best rugged tablet, we’ve put together this list, which gather the top shock and drop-proof tablets on the market today.

If you’re working outside, then the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 is easily one of the best rugged tablets on the market today. This is thanks not only to its tough design that is shock resistant to to drops of up ton 180cm, but also because the display has been designed to be used outdoors in bright sunlight – so you’ll still be able to use the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 no matter how bright your surroundings are. The screen supports 10-finger multi-touch, it runs on Windows 10 Pro, it’s water and dust resistant and comes with a configuration port for a variety of expansions (serial, LAN, 2D Barcode Reader, NFC).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

If you’re looking for a rugged Windows tablet that can withstand an impressive amount of punishment, then the Getac F110 is an excellent choice. Its durable body can withstand moisture, extreme temperatures and drops, without it being bulky or heavy. It is certified to MIL-STD 810G, 1P65 and MIL-STD-461F standards. The most recent version of this tablet comes with 6th generation Intel Core processors, so there’s plenty of power here, and a dual battery system means you can easily swap them out without having to pause.

iPad Pro 9.7

The HP ElitePad 1000 is a fantastic business laptop, and it can be configured to come in a rugged design that is IP65 and MIL-STD 810G tested. It can withstand a 6ft drop onto linoleum-covered concrete. It features an Intel Atom processor, which isn’t the most powerful CPU, but it’s still capable of handling most business applications. Biometric security keeps your important data safe, and HP also offers a range of accessories, such as docking stations and additional batteries.

iPad mini 4

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 is a 2-in-1 rugged device, which means it has an attachable keyboard that allow it to work as either a laptop or as a tablet. When in tablet mode, the Toughbook CF-33 is an excellent durable machine , with MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certification, which means it can survive shocks, drops liquids and dust. The battery life is a bit on the short side compared to other rugged tablets on this list, but you can quickly swap out the battery when you need extra time. You can also buy extended batteries that double the run time from 10 hours to 20. This is an additional cost, however.

Dell is another well-known brand that produces rugged tablets. The Dell Latitude 12 is one such device, and Dell has recently updated the model with more up-to-date components, though the processor still feels a little outdated. However, you do get an excellently-built tablet that has IP65, MIL-STD-810G and IP-810G certifications (rather than merely meeting the standards in laboratory tests). Dell’s customary high build quality is evident here, and while it isn’t the most glamorous looking tablet, it does the job of withstanding harsh conditions, and accidental drops. Price-wise, the Dell Latitude 12 is also pretty competitive, and as with other Dell products, you’re able to configure the hardware to meet your specific needs and budget.

Unlike other rugged tablets on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active isn’t designed for industrial-grade protection. However, what it does provide is IP67 certification for dust and water ingress, and a battery that lasts between eight to 10 hours. Plus, it supports replaceable batteries, so you can keep on working even if you’re away from a power supply, and it’s drop-tested to 1.2 metres. A decent camera and NFC technology are included, and it’s rounded off with Samsung’s customary excellent build quality.

This 10.1-inch Android tablet can withstand drops up to five feet, as well as being water and dust resistant. While it’s bulkier and heavier than non-rugged tablets, it’s still portable enough to be easily carried around worksites. Its screen isn’t the highest resolution, but with a 500 Nit backlight, it is excellent for use in direct sunlight. It’s not the most powerful tablet on this list, but it’s a more affordable alternative for people who want to use an Android device outside and on the road.

The Getac Z710 is a handy rugged tablet that does pretty much everything you’d want from an Android tablet, while coming in a rugged body. Design-wise the Getac Z710 is one of the better looking rugged tablets we’ve seen, and it comes with a number of business-orientated features that make it an excellent choice for enterprise use. The 7-inch screen is crisp and responsive to touch, but it does have a habit of showing off glare in direct lights. It has been tested for drops up to six foot, and is MIL-STD-810G certified, while Corning Gorilla glass protects the screen from shattering.

  • Looking for a laptop that can withstand the elements? Check out our list of the best rugged laptops


Surface Book 2 might not arrive until 2018

Many folks have been keenly awaiting the arrival of the Surface Book 2 for a long time now, but it seems that the wait will continue, at least according to a new report which claims that the hybrid sequel won’t be seen until 2018.

This comes from Mary J Foley at ZDNet, a well-respected source on all things Microsoft, who claims her inside contacts have said that the company might not start shipping a new Surface Book until early next year.

Obviously this is chatter from the grapevine so has to be taken with the usual caveats, and of course note the qualifying use of the word ‘might’ in the report.

But still, when we heard earlier this month that Microsoft is set to reveal at least one new Surface device at the Future Decoded event in London at the end of October, we had hoped that the timing was lining up for a new Surface Book to finally be revealed – and that seems far less likely now.

Surface spin

It seems the hardware in question will most likely be the LTE spin of the new Surface Pro (introduced earlier this year), which is nice, but obviously a far less exciting prospect than a Surface Book 2.

Foley also claimed that the sequel to the Surface Hub won’t be appearing this year either, and is also set for an early 2018 launch.

Meanwhile, in other Microsoft news, we just heard that the firm is planning a Windows Mixed Reality event for the start of October which will further detail the vision for these more affordable VR headsets (such as the Dell Visor or Lenovo Explorer).

Via: Neowin


CCleaner gets hit by a nasty malware infection

Popular system maintenance tool CCleaner has been compromised by a serious malware infection, which is a particularly embarrassing incident given that the app was bought up by antivirus giant Avast back in the summer.

According to security outfit Cisco Talos, if you downloaded CCleaner version 5.33 from Avast (or used CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191), then it was blighted with a multi-stage malware payload.

The security firm speculates that an external attacker compromised the program’s development or build environment to insert the malware, or it could have been an insider doing the same.

The malicious code in question is a two-stage backdoor which hooks up to a command and control server, capable of running code transmitted from a remote PC with obvious potential for various nastiness. Another worrying point was that this infection apparently went undetected by the vast majority of antivirus software.

Threat resolved

The good news is that the infected version of the software has already been pulled down, and according to Piriform, the developer of CCleaner: “The threat has now been resolved in the sense that the rogue server is down, other potential servers are out of the control of the attacker, and we’re moving all existing CCleaner v5.33.6162 users to the latest version.”

Those using the cloud version of CCleaner have already received an automatic update to remove the exploit, and Piriform claims that “we were able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm”.

Even so, a large number of users could potentially have been affected given that CCleaner is reportedly downloaded 5 million times per week (and has racked up over two billion downloads since November of last year).

An investigation into how the code was inserted into the program is underway, Piriform says, and Avast is unsurprisingly involved in trying to work out what has gone on here (we’ve reached out to the latter for comment on this incident, and will update this story if we hear back).

Meanwhile, if you are running CCleaner v5.33, you need to update to the latest version of the program immediately.

  • Even the best laptops need a good antivirus to defend against malware


Pirate Bay caught using visitors’ CPUs to mine cryptocurrency

If you happen to frequent the dicier corners of the internet, specifically the well-known copyright trampling website The Pirate Bay, then beware that the latter has been testing a new method of making money – using the PCs of visitors to mine cryptocurrency.

Torrent Freak discovered that the piracy website had implemented a Javascript cryptocurrency miner which employs the resources of the user’s PC to mine Monero coins.

Some visitors to The Pirate Bay observed their CPU resource usage spiking heavily as the site made use of the processor for mining activities, but only on certain pages – reportedly on search results and listings of categories, but not the main homepage.

And this was happening without the user’s knowledge, of course (unless the surfer in question happened to notice their CPU activity heading rapidly upwards).

Testing, testing

Note that the website contacted Torrent Freak to clarify that this was simply a 24 hour test of the system, but that obviously points to the fact that this could be a new avenue of revenue generation in the future.

And if that is the case, it’s certainly something that The Pirate Bay needs to make clear is happening: sneakily using the processor without any warning is clearly not on.

Although you could well argue that anyone visiting a piracy site deserves what they get, of course, and in some cases that will be a lot worse than a bit of extra CPU usage.