Tech Friday

posted by Brian Thomas -

  • The latest on the Equifax breach:
    • News broke last week that hackers stole personal information on up to 143 million people from credit reporting firm Equifax 
    • "Given that financial institutions including credit card companies, banks, credit unions, retailers and lenders report the details of credit activity to Equifax, the 143 million consumers affected may not even be aware the company has this information on them" Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions
    • Ironically, Equifax provides credit monitoring and identity theft protection services
    • Equifax's breach is among the largest in the US, and the largest known leak so far this year
    • Equifax announced that they had been hacked from mid-May to July and the breach was discovered on July 29th
    • According to a report on the data breach by William Baird & Co., hackers exploited a flaw in Apache Struts, a popular open-source software package. You can read the Baird report here: https://baird.bluematrix.com/docs/pdf/dbf801ef-f20e-4d6f-91c1-88e55503ecb0.pdf
    • Two Struts vulnerabilities have been discovered so far in 2017. One of these flaws has existed since 2008
    • “At least 65% of the Fortune 100 companies are actively using web applications built with the Struts framework,” the report said. “Organizations like Lockheed Martin, the IRS, Citigroup, Vodafone, Virgin Atlantic, Reader’s Digest, Office Depot, and SHOWTIME are known to have developed applications using the framework. This illustrates how widespread the risk is.”
    • Thieves made off with names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and other sensitive information
    • Equifax reported that roughly 209,000 people had their credit card numbers stolen
    • Additionally, hackers stole documents with personal information on 182,000 victims
    • People in Canada and the UK are also affected by this breach
    • In their statement, Equifax said "Criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files"
    • The company is working with law enforcement and a cybersecurity firm on the investigation
    • Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the hack "raises serious questions about whether Congress should not only create a uniform data breach notification standard, but also whether Congress needs to rethink data protection policies, so that enterprises such as Equifax have fewer incentives to collect large, centralized sets of highly sensitive data like SSNs and credit card information on millions of Americans."
    • This is a security risk for any and every website that anyone uses," Christopher O'Rourke, founder and CEO of Soteria
    • "Most often, security questions to access those websites use that data, like a previous address, so this becomes an open-source intelligence nightmare, worse in many ways than the Office of Personnel Management government breach. It's nasty. If I can get my hands on that information I can call a bank. They're going to ask me for your Social, address, the information that was leaked here, to get access." - Christopher O'Rourke
    • Equifax is offering free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring to all US consumers. You must enroll by November 21st
    • To determine if your information has been compromised and/or sign up for the free identity theft protection and credit monitoring, go here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/
    • There have been concerns that by signing up for this service, you waive your right to sue. That has been cleared up, read this article: http://www.vaildaily.com/news/equifax-issues-statement-correcting-misconceptions-about-legal-action/
    • Equifax has also indicated that they will be sending letters to folks whose information has been compromised
    • Some other things you can do are:
    • Read the Equifax FAQ here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/frequently-asked-questions/
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X:
    • Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus this past Tuesday
    • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus specs: Apple A11 ‘Bionic’ chipset with Six Core CPU, Six Core GPU, M11 motion coprocessor, 3GB RAM (iPhone 8 Plus), 2GB RAM (iPhone 8)
    • Apple claims the 64-bit, six core processors are 25% faster than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus when using the performance cores and 70% faster using the high efficiency cores
    • Apple claims multithreaded workloads are 70% faster and graphics are 30% faster with half the power consumption
    • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus displays retain the same core specs but have True Tone techology
      • iPhone 8 - 4.7-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels 
      • iPhone 8 Plus - 5.5-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels
    • The speakers are 25% louder and have better bass
    • The iPhone 8 has a single 12 megapixel wide-angle camera. The iPhone 8 Plus adds a 12 megapixel telephoto camera.
    • The front camera on both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is a seven megapixel camera
    • The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support wireless charging
    • The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at 64GB of storage and there are only two options:
      • iPhone 8 - 64GB ($699), 256GB ($849)
      • iPhone 8 Plus - 64GB ($799), 256GB ($949)
    • The sealed cases are water and dust resistant
    • The 8 and 8 Plus begin shipping on September 22nd
    • Watch an Apple video on the 8 and 8 Plus here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0DN-BZrM4o
    • Apple announced the iPhone X (pronounced 10)
      • It has a glass front and back and they claim the glass is the "most durable in a smartphone"
      •  Apple killed the bezels delivering an edge-to-edge OLED 5.8-inch display know as the Super Retina Display
      • The Super Retina display will support 2046×1125 resolution, 455 PPI and HDR
      • The home button is gone. Users wake up their device by picking it up or swiping across any part of the screen
      • Users can also activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri” or by pressing the side button
      • FaceID uses a depth-sensing front camera to unlock the phone by scanning the user’s face
      • It supports wireless charging
      • It has dual 12 megapixel rear cameras and supports improved photos and video
      • It has the same basic performance specs as the 8 and 8 Plus
      • The iPhone X starts at $999 for the 64GB model, with a larger 256GB option
      • Preorders begin on October 27th and shipping starts November 3rd
      • Watch an Apple iPhone X video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=mW6hFttt_KE
  • The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update:
    • A fourth update to Windows 10 is slated to arrive next month beginning October 17th 
    • The Fall Creators Update (Version 1709) has an assortment of new and improved features which include:
      • The addition of Microsoft's Fluent Design in the Start Menu and Action Center
      • Improvements to Windows Update such that it's less intrusive when updates are available, and the display provides detailed information about the updates
      • Reorganization of System Settings to make it easier to use
      • The insecure and generally unnecessary SMBv1 protocol has been removed from clean installs, it will remain in updates but can be removed
      • Exploit Protection in Windows Defender which offers much of the protection that was available separately in Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 
      • A new anti-ransomware tool in Windows Defender known as Controlled Folder Access which blocks unapproved apps from accessing Windows system files and folders and allows you to provide a list of other files and folders to protect
      • OneDrive improvements that allow you to minimize local storage of cloud based files
      • Easier deletion of previous versions of Windows (which saves space)
      • Automatic deletion of files in the Dowloads folder after 30 days
      • Improvements to the Favorites interface in MS Edge
      • Improvements to the Touch keyboard and Pen input
    • Microsoft has stated that new feature updates will be released on a predictable twice-yearly schedule moving forward

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Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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