Can Twitter debate really be more civil?

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey wants to improve one of the most controversial features of his social media platform – debate and conversation. According to The Toronto Star, Dorsey is asking for help improving “the openness and civility of conversation on Twitter.” Dorsey believes the company has “failed to prevent misinformation, echo chambers and abuse of its global messaging service.”

Twitter is now soliciting proposals for strategies on measuring the healthiness of conversation on the service and ways to improve it. Those proposals are due mid-April.

“We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough. We simply can’t and don’t want to do this alone,” Dorsey tweeted.

As anyone on the web knows, Twitter certainly isn’t the only culprit in unhealthy social media discussion. Already this year, Mark Zuckerberg has promised his time in fixing the same issues on Facebook. YouTube has recently expressed difficulty in this area, especially in the wake of polarizing events in the news. This goes to show that Twitter may have a long road ahead.

Source: – Twitter CEO looking to improve ‘civility’ of online debate; YouTube Stumbles
Published: March 2, 2018

Is Canada on the path to 5G?

Canada’s federal government, as well as the governments of Ontario and Quebec, have partnered with industry leaders Ericsson, Ciena Canada, Thales Canada, IBM Canada, and CGI, to bring the country up to speed with 5G technology.

According to Metro News, “A $400-million public-private investment will create a corridor of 5G wireless test beds through Canada’s two largest provinces, aimed at giving companies a chance to experiment with new ideas and products that are only now becoming possible thanks to recent breakthroughs in telecommunication technology.”

This project is called ENCQOR. Or, if you prefer, ‘Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation.’ It will give about 1,000 small and medium-sized lucky businesses the opportunity to plug into 5G early for research and development purposes. Both Ontario and Quebec have pledged about $67 million. This will also benefit residents of these provinces, where the projected is expected to create 4,000 jobs.

5G is still decently far into the future for most Canadians. But it is an important development, especially in terms of a more connected world that includes “driverless cars, remotely controlled complex surgeries, and download speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G networks.”

“5G is the gateway to the future and we are just on the brink of this technological revolution,” Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Monday at a funding announcement in Ottawa.

Source: – Data alert: 5G wireless telecommunication corridor is coming to Canada
Published: March 19, 2018

Grand theft auto leaves Florida towns without internet connection

Last week, citizens of Rockledge and Cocoa, Florida were left without internet for several hours following one man’s theft of a repair truck routing fiber optic cable.

Florida Today reported that the “outage affected up to 5,000 customers, including businesses and residences.”

The person of interest in this crime, Shane Younger, stole the “$100,000 truck, hitched to a $50,000 trailer filled with tools and other equipment” right out from under the repairmen’s nose as they were spooling fiber optic cable. The truck was recovered the next morning at 5:30am from a Denny’s parking lot.

“The person came out of nowhere and stole the truck,” Joe Durkin, spokesperson for Spectrum – the company that owns the truck and cables – told Florida Today. The publication says, “One worker actually jumped from the truck as the suspected thief rolled off, violently snapping and damaging the cable.” The damages caused to the cables could cost as much as $10,000 to repair.

Surely Younger had no idea how impactful his crime would be when stealing the vehicle. A spokesperson for the Cocoa Police Department told Florida Today that “several police agencies” also experienced outages. “Officers had to use backup radios after the cables were snapped.” Luckily 911 systems were not effected.

Younger was taken into custody and booked at the county jail on charges of grand theft.

Source: – Stolen cable repair truck in Cocoa leads to Spectrum internet outage
Published: March 14, 2018

Mac targeting malware is on the rise

Macs have long been considered a secure PC option, given that less malware is created to attack the less-used operating system. But that might be changing. Anti-malware security vendor Malwarebytes is warning users that malware attacks targeting the platform jumped 270 percent in 2017.

In particular, security experts warn that four new malware exploits have been identified by Mac users in 2018. One Mac user found that their Domain Name Server settings (DNS) had been changed, and they were blocked from changing them back. According to Computer World, this malware “also installed a trusted root certificate on the person’s Mac. The threat left the user vulnerable to fraudulent phishing websites posing as the real deal and man-in-the-middle attacks.”

Malwarebytes researchers have also found a new Java-based exploit for Macs that they believe was likely developed “for nefarious purposes” by an undisclosed nation state. Another attack found by the security vendor “included deployment of malicious links on a popular software downloads website.”

While Apple platforms tend to be very secure, the truth is that they are not impenetrable. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of Mac users’ lax sense of security.

“Apple’s macOS includes some good security features that are helpful, but they are easily bypassed by new malware,” Malwarebytes told Computer World.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Computer World gave a pretty comprehensive list. It recommends:

  • Avoid clicking links if you don’t know the sender.
  • Use strong passcodes.
  • Understand the risk of public Wi-Fi, and don’t access confidential or financial services using such networks.
  • Do not download software from unapproved App Stores.
  • Run a virus scan now and then.
  • Use two-factor authentication when possible.
  • Learn to use and understand Apple’s new privacy protection tools when they appear in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4.
  • Read the Mac and iOS security guides.

Source: – Warning as Mac malware exploits climb 270%
Published: March 12, 2018



Macs reach ten percent of global computer usership

It’s one of those milestones that is supposed to be great –  but also shows just how dominant Microsoft truly is in the personal computer market. According to Computer World, Apple’s Mac computers account for one in every ten personal computers used to access the internet over the last two months. A year ago, the number was 6.2% of the global user share.

Chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, Bob O’Donnell, told Computer World why he believes Apple has finally reached this milestone. “It’s due on some level to growth driven by BYOD. Over the years, companies have been more willing to let employees bring their own devices in. I presume that has something to do with [Mac growth].”

O’Donnell also noted that recent security concerns could have contributed to the company’s growth. “Macs are generally considered to be more secure because of fewer attacks [aimed at them].”

Another reason for the rise in popularity may have something to do with longevity of devices. On average, Mac owners tend to hold onto their PCs for longer than Windows owners. Although this means that more Windows systems are being purchased, Apple’s share would slowly build against them.

Source: – Macs now account for 10% of active personal computers
Published: March 13, 2018

You can now officially sue Yahoo for those data breaches

You probably remember Yahoo’s large series of data breaches that lasted from 2013 to 2016, where the personal data of potentially three billion Yahoo users were exposed to hackers. Well, if you’re a U.S-based Yahoo user who was a victim of this breach and you’re looking for compensation, you now have a chance to get it. Judge Lucy Koh, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, recently ruled that victims can launch a class-action suit against Yahoo, despite parent company Verizon’s request to drop such suits.

The FBI was aided by Yahoo in closing the hacking case. Two Russian intelligence agents, as well as a Canadian hacker, were charged in accordance with the incident. The Canadian hacker plead guilty to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy charges this past November, according to BGR.

Even though the case was solved, Yahoo users have still been impacted. Some have spent money on extra security measures and credit freezes following the data breach. Koh argued that this was the responsibility of Yahoo. Part of the issue was that Yahoo did not disclose until 2016 that it had experienced hacking for the past few years.

“Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo Mail System,” Koh wrote in her decision. Koh believes that Yahoo users might have “taken measures to protect themselves had they known about the breaches sooner.”

Source: – Judge rules that Yahoo Mail data breach victims can sue Yahoo
Published: March 12, 2018

BlackBerry files lawsuit against Facebook over patent infringement

blackberry logo longOn March 6th, BlackBerry reportedly filed a patent infringement suit against Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram under the argument that they copied technology from BlackBerry Messenger.

“Defendants created mobile messaging applications that co-opt BlackBerry’s innovations, using a number of the innovative security, user interface, and functionality enhancing features,” the suit, filed with a Los Angeles federal court, claims.

BlackBerry spokeswoman Sarah McKinney told Venture Beat that “Protecting shareholder assets and intellectual property is the job of every CEO.” This comment addresses rumours that litigation and patent infringement lawsuits are central to CEO John Chen’s business strategy.  McKinney said that this was “not central to BlackBerry’s strategy.”

Facebook obviously won’t go down without a fight. The company’s Deputy General Counsel, Paul Grewal, said in a statement that, “Blackberry’s suit sadly reflects the current state of its messaging business. Having abandoned its efforts to innovate, Blackberry is now looking to tax the innovation of others.”

BlackBerry sued Nokia Corp last year for patents relating to 3G and 4G wireless communication. That case is still pending in a federal court in Delaware, according to Venture Beat. Qualcomm also agreed to pay BlackBerry $940 million over a royalty payments dispute. In October 2017, BlackBerry settled with Blu Products Inc, a Floridian low-cost mobile device manufacturer which it had sued over patents.

Source: – BlackBerry sues Facebook over messaging patents
Published: March 6, 2018

Should Ontario ban door-to-door telecom sales?

A member of Ontario Parliament has recently told CBC that Bell Canada’s door-to-door sales tactics are “absolutely despicable.” Liberal MPP Yvan Baker is advocating that telecom sales be included in Ontario’s new ban on door-to-door sales of certain products and services.

A bill that came into effect on March 1st bans the door-to-door sale of water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and water treatment systems. Although it does not include telecom services, MPP Baker thinks it should be amended to do so.

“I think it’s beyond reprehensible that there are people who are misleading, who are using aggressive tactics to coerce people into these contracts that are not to the benefit of the consumer,” Baker told CBC.

Baker isn’t alone in his opinions. CBC GO Public recently did an investigation into these Bell sales tactics, using a hidden camera. A CBC producer was hired by a company selling Bell services door-to-door. The investigation found  that “sales reps misled homeowners on ‘guaranteed’ monthly prices for Bell’s Fibe TV, internet and home phone packages. They also twisted the truth on WiFi reach, internet speed and Bell’s fibre optic network.”

Baker says that Bell uses similarly misleading tactics as salespeople selling furnaces, water heaters, and the likes. He thinks the CRTC should investigate, but that Ontario can make steps to protect its consumers in the meantime.

Source: – ‘We just have to stop this’: MPP says Ontario should investigate banning door-to-door telecom sales
Published: March 3, 2018

Frightening new Android malware causes concern for users

If you’re an Android user, you might want to pay attention to news of the recent, aggressive form of malware known as RedDrop. This Android-exclusive bug can steal a device’s photos, contacts, files, and other data, and is also able to record live audio and rack up massive phone bills for the victim, according to Tech Spot.

RedDrop was discovered by UK mobile security and data management firm, Wandera. Wandera said it found RedDrop was present on the phones of employees at several global consultancy firms, and that it is “one of the most sophisticated pieces of Android malware.”

Wandera researchers explained that users became vulnerable after clicking an ad that redirected them to a distribution site, which encourages visitors to download one of the 53 malicious RedDrop apps. Wandera explained that, “The malware’s creators use a content distribution network of over 4000 domains to distribute the applications, which are disguised as calculators, image editors, language learning aids, games, and adult content.”

“We believe the group developed this complex CDN [content distribution network] to obfuscate where the malware was served from, making it harder for security teams to detect the source of the threat,” the researchers told Tech Spot.

If you install one of the malicious RedDrop apps, you’ll be asked to interact with it in some way. For example, one app, called “CuteActress,” asks users to rub the screen and reveal a seductively-dressed woman. Well, for every rub, your device is unwittingly sending an SMS message to a premium-rate service. Meanwhile, the malware deletes all records of the message being sent, so you’re not likely to become keen to the scam.

According to Tech Spot, RedDrop malware will “harvest data such as local files (photos/contact etc.), SIM info, app and WiFi info, and device details. It can also grab live audio recordings of local surroundings using a device’s microphone. The data is then sent back to the attackers’ Dropbox or Drive folders to use for extortion purposes or launch further attacks.”

Moral of the story? Be careful where you download your apps, and pay attention to what they’re asking. Wandera says concerned users should disallow third-party downloads, avoid rooting your device, and check which permissions apps request, and use a security solution that can monitor and block C&C traffic at the device level.

Source: – New Android malware can steal data, record audio, and send SMS messages to premium services
Published: February 28, 2018

Apple to release its largest iPhone ever

After all the hullaballoo surrounding the release of the iPhone X last November, you might not be ready for news about the next generation of the popular Apple smartphone. But, as it turns out, Apple is. Company insiders announced that the California-based tech goliath is preparing to reveal a trio of new iPhones this fall.

The trio includes what will be the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded version of the current iPhone X, and a less expensive version of the iPhone X that includes all of the original’s key features. According to The Toronto Star, “Apple wants to appeal to the growing number of consumers who crave the multi-tasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X.”

Is Apple trying to make up for lackluster sales with the iPhone X? Statistics have shown that Apple sold far below its projections of 80.2 million phones in the final quarter of 2017, reaching only 77.3 million units. The cheaper version of the iPhone X suggests that Apple listened to customers who were unhappy with the original device’s thousand dollar selling point.

Some experts suggest that the screen increase is another good move for Apple. “This is a big deal,” Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple watcher, told The Toronto Star. “When you have a measurable upgrade in screen size, people go to update their phone in droves. We saw that with the iPhone 6, and we think this is setting up to be a similar step up in growth. The market that will see the biggest jump in sales is likely Asia. That market has many single-device consumers, and they love big phones.”

Apple has not commented on the situation officially, so we will likely have to wait until fall to see these new phones.

Source: – Apple to release trio of new iPhones, including its largest ever
Published: February 27, 2018