Weekly tech bulletin for week ending on 2015-05-10. 11 Technology news as it happened.

Published: Sun, 10 May 2015 by Rad

1. Google Backs Rival of Docker, the Cloud’s Next Big Thing

Published: May 04, 2015 tech

Many consider Docker to be the next big thing in cloud computing. But some big names - most notably Google - are now backing an alternative to this enormously influential technology

SanDisk SD
Credit: Sommacal Alfonso, CC 3.0

Google has put its considerable weight behind rkt

Google has put its considerable weight behind this effort, officially joining the Rocket open source project and rolling the technology into one of its cloud computing tools.

CoreOS founder and CEO Alex Polvi felt that Docker had strayed from its original mission, and with Rocket, he and his colleagues hoped to bring that mission back to the fore.

Ironically, Google also offers cloud computing services a la Amazon, and it was the first big-name cloud company to embrace Docker. But now, Google is backing Rocket as well, rolling the technology into its Kubernetes cloud computing software.

With Rocket, CoreOS hopes to provide a new container standard that’s outside the control of any one company. In addition to Google, Polvi says, other big names are getting behind the project, including Red Hat and VMware. And Mark Kropf, of VMware spinoff Pivotal, tells WIRED that his company is working to accommodate Rocket as well. At the very least, Rocket’s initial progress is another sign that the container idea will change the way the world builds software.

Follow   www.wired.com to read more.

2. The Real Reason Why Micro SD Card Slots Are Disappearing from Smartphones

Published: May 08, 2015 tech

Days where you could upgrade your mobile device with relatively cheap micro SD card storage are coming to an end as manufacturers decided to put profits ahead of end user convenience.

SanDisk SD
Credit: Richard Huber, CC 3.0

For high performance devices, we are fundamentally against an SD card slot

The reason that smartphone manufacturers are ditching micro SD card slots in their devices, especially at the high end, is money. Manufacturers can't charge a premium for an SD card slot, but they can charge a $100 for a few extra gigabytes of flash storage.

For the consumer, this means having to decide up front how much storage they plan to need over the lifespan of the device, and a lot of hassle or even early obsolescence if space becomes an issue.

If there's an SD card slot on the device, then many users would buy the lowest-cost (and lowest margin) device, and boost that with a cheap micro SD card. It won't be as fast as internal storage, but for music, video, or apps that don't demand a high level or performance, it's going to be more than adequate.

Follow   www.yahoo.com to read more.

3. Microsoft to stop producing Windows versions

Published: May 08, 2015 software

Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive, said in a conference speech this week that Windows 10 would be the "last version" of the dominant desktop software.

Windows 10 is going to be the last major revision of the operating system.

Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 would be improved in regular instalments, the firm said. In a statement, Microsoft said Mr Nixon's comments reflected a change in the way that it made its software.

"Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner. We expect there to be a long future for Windows"

Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft development executive

Microsoft had in the past deliberately avoided using the name "Windows 9" and instead chose Windows 10 as a way to signify a break with a past which involved successive stand-alone versions of the operating system.

Follow   www.bbc.co.uk to read more.

4. Mumblehard Malware Mugs Linux Servers

Published: May 05, 2015 security

Any Web server that can run Perl scripts, including Windows, Unix, Linux and FreeBSD, and that lets users, customers or even admins change their Web pages, is a potential victim of Mumblehard malware.

However, it apparently targets Linux Web servers the most. To fend off Mumblehard, administrators of Linux systems can encrypt their data, suggested Secure Channels CEO Richard Blech.

Dubbed Linux/Mumblehard, the malware contains a backdoor and a spamming daemon, both written in Perl. The components are mainly Perl scripts encrypted and packed inside an executable and linkable format, or ELF, said Eset. In some cases, one ELF executable with a packer nests inside another.

Writing ELF binaries in assembly language obfuscates the Perl source code and shows an above-average level of sophistication, security firm Eset noted. Mumblehard's main purpose appears to be sending pharmaceutical spam from legitimate servers it takes over.

Follow   www.technewsworld.com to read more.

5. Swatch says it’s working on revolutionary battery for smartwatches and cars

Published: May 07, 2015 tech

The CEO of Swatch, one of the world's largest watch makers, says his company will release a "revolutionary battery" next year, "not only for watches, but also for automobiles."

Swatch logo
Credit: Ludovic Peron, CC 2.0

The first smartwatch that lasts six months on a charge has a major advantage

Swatch announced that it would introduce new watches with NFC (for contactless payments) and Bluetooth (to display notifications from your smartphone). The first of those watches, the Touch Zero One is meant to arrive later this month and cost $160 (~£100), but presumably some other smarter Swatch watches are on the way too.

Swatch implies that Swatch and Renata (Swatch's battery company) are working on a battery that can power a smartwatch for six months.

Given that current smartwatches only last for a day or two on a single charge, and that battery capacity only generally increases by around 10 percent per year, a smartwatch that lasts six months would be a stretch

Follow   arstechnica.com to read more.

6. Uber Bids For Nokia's HERE Mapping Service For $3 Billion

Published: May 08, 2015 tech

Reports late Thursday claimed Uber has made a formal offer, although it has not confirmed the news and neither has the Finland-based Nokia.

Mapping data is an important long-term asset for the auto industry

Uber's move isn't surprising, given it's clearly looking to move way beyond its initial business focus. It has indicated interest in developing driver-less vehicles.

Uber, however, is facing some stiff competition in courting HERE as a group of automakers is also clearly interested in scooping up HERE. The group includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, and Chinese search engine Baidu is also supposedly onboard with the group.

According to a news report, Nokia's HERE boasts more than an 80 percent worldwide market share for in-car navigation systems yet its numbers are not nearly as high for smartphone users. In that space, Google Maps has captured 1 billion mobile users, about 10 times more than Nokia's mobile app user base.

Follow   www.techtimes.com to read more.

7. Samsung is spending $14 billion to build a Samsung Semiconductor Valley

Published: May 08, 2015 markets

The South Korean firm is beginning construction on a new manufacturing complex to supply the essential components to the electronics industry, investing 15.6 trillion won ($14.3 billion) in a site the size of 400 soccer fields.

Semiconductor business can't be beat

Unlike the smartphone industry, where companies like Huawei and Xiaomi have been able to undermine Samsung by operating at razor-thin profit margins, this isn't a business that's open to newcomers. Samsung's decision to build a new facility, first reported by ET News and confirmed by The Verge, will only exacerbate this trend, locking out would-be competitors.

Although Samsung remains the world's biggest smartphone manufacturer in terms of volume, its semiconductor business is also the world's second largest after Intel.

Follow   www.theverge.com to read more.

8. Microsoft Takes On Hybrid, Multi-Cloud Management With Operations Management Suite (OMS)

Published: May 06, 2015 tech

Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), a new management platform that supports hybrid and multi-cloud environments, including Microsoft's Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack, Windows Server, Linux, and VMware.

Different clouds not a problem

"You get orchestration, application availability, disaster recovery and backup," said Microsoft. "And you get all of that capability, on virtual, physical, public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, VMware, HyperV all under one page of glass."

Brad Anderson, Microsoft's Corporate VP of Enterprise Client and Mobility

Microsoft outlined several key benefits of OMS, including:

  • Automation and orchestration, allowing IT pros to automate repetitive tasks to create more efficiency in your data center
  • Server and application availability, which integrates recovery of apps and services whether they're housed on premises or in the cloud
  • Security, allowing IT pros to collect security-related events, identify malware, missing system updates and more
  • Log analytics, allowing IT to collect and search multiple log data sources in order to gain visibility and solve operational problems

During the initial setup, you get to choose which solution packs you want to use. Next, you connect your on-prem and cloud data sources; here you can link to individual servers, your Azure Store account, or link to your existing System Center installation. You can also add custom logs.

Follow   www.tomsitpro.com to read more.

9. US Secret Service Alerts InterContinental Hotel Group of Data Breach

Published: May 09, 2015 security

Cities Service received a notification from the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) it is part of, regarding a possible compromise of its payment processing systems at its Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Payment processing system compromised for almost four months!

IHG was alerted of the breach by the US Secret Service and suggested Cities Service initiate an investigation to check if a security incident had occurred.

The company contracted the forensic services of Dell SecureWorks to determine evidence of malicious activity. Following the inquiry, it was established that a piece of malware had infected the payment system since October 13, 2014, until February 11, 2015.

The customer data exposed includes names, addresses, card numbers and expiration dates; no social security numbers have been leaked. According to the notification letter from Cities Service, a total of 613 individuals were affected by the incident, two of them being residents of the state of New Hampshire.

Follow   news.softpedia.com to read more.

10. Ad network compromised to redirect users to Nuclear EK, install Carberp

Published: May 08, 2015 security

Attackers compromised an ad network's server in an apparent attempt to redirect visitors of websites using the platform to the Nuclear exploit kit (EK), new research reveals.

The security firm found that as many as 12,500 users per day were affected by the threat at its peak this past Saturday

According to Trend Micro, Mad Ads Media, a New Jersey-based advertising network, was targeted to further a redirect scheme which featured financial malware Carberp as the final payload of the infection chain. This led us to the conclusion that the server used by the ad network to save the JavaScript library was compromised to redirect website visitors to the exploit kit. Mad Ads Media serves a variety of websites globally, and several of the affected sites appear to be related to anime and manga.

We found in our investigation that the URL (used to redirect users) didn't always serve JavaScript code, and instead would sometimes redirect to the Nuclear Exploit Kit server,

Follow   www.scmagazine.com to read more.

11. US court says NSA phone data program is illegal

Published: May 07, 2015 legal

A US Appeals court has sent shockwaves through the government and security industry after ruling that the National Security Agency's wholesale collection of phone call data is illegal.

Privacy advocates on new front

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on Thursday that section 215 of the Patriot Act doesn't authorize the NSA's practice of collecting metadata on nearly all phone calls placed across the US.

The appellate judges said the program "exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized" in the Patriot Act, adding that the case will now be handed back to a district court for further litigation.

The court's ruling provides further support for the American Civil Liberties Union and others who believe that Section 215 of the Patriot Act should be tossed out. A June deadline draws near for Congress to vote on whether it should renew Section 215. While many lawmakers have said that at least parts of it should be kept in place, Section 215, which the US government has said allows it to collect metadata, is potentially on the chopping block.

Follow   www.cnet.com to read more.

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