Google To Stop Scanning Your Gmail

By year’s end, Google will stop scanning your Gmail folders in order to deliver targeted advertising.
According to their blog post, “This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization.” Google has maintained for years that users can change their privacy settings at any time and still use the service.

Google has come under fire for years for forcing users to give up privacy in exchange for the popular service. Microsoft has even created ad campaigns that directly attacked Google for their scanning tactics.

Many privacy groups are excited for the change of position by Google.
“Whilst it could be seen as closing the stable door once the horse has bolted, there is no doubt that the end to the intrusive and frankly creepy process will be appreciated by a great many Gmail users,” said Renate Samson with Big Brother Watch.
While this is a win for privacy, it’s important to note that Gmail messages will still be scanned by Google to provide AIP (Artificial Intelligence Powered) “smart replies” and malware protection.

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Sega Releases Free Classic Games For Mobile

Sega has announced it’s “Sega Forever” service and has included five classic games for free, well it’s $1.99 in the US and £1.99 in the UK to avoid the ads.

“We’re just bolting in the advertising support model and a single in-app purchase that can disable those ads,” said Mike Evans, head of Sega’s mobile division in San Francisco.

“Above all else Sega Forever is a celebration of nostalgia,” Mr Evans added. “It’s about allowing fans to reconnect with past experiences.

The app is available now via the Apple and Android app stores and currently has the following games:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Comix Zone
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Altered Beast

Sega has stated that they want to add a new title every two weeks.

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Xbox One X – Powerful, Small, Priced Right But Still Controversial

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the Xbox One X since Microsoft announced it last week at E3. There have been several tech article written since and, of course, multiple different opinions. Some articles called it “boring” some said “over priced” and still others were too slanted toward its greatness. We thought we would write a simple post and keep things in the factual realm and let the reader decide if they want to spend five bills this holiday season or not.

According to Microsoft, the newest console in the Xbox One line will feature 6 Teraflops of graphical processing power, 4K gaming, and claims to be compatible with Xbox One games and accessories. It comes with 8 GB of flash memory and 12 GB GDDR5 graphic memory at
326 GB/s, 1 TB of storage, a 6 Teraflop GPU, and 4K Resolution. The console also sports advanced liquid cooling and is supposed to be incredibly quiet. Microsoft is touting it as “The World’s Most Powerful Console.”

When you read the specs and watch the trailer it’s quite an exciting offering and no doubt will fly off the shelves in November.
So how does it compare to other gaming options?

The PS4 Pro doesn’t come close in the 4K arms race with an octocore AMD Jaguar processor running at 2.1GHz, a GPU at 4.20 Teraflops, and 8GB of GDDR5 RAM.

What about simply building a custom gaming PC? This is absolutely an option and can be built to blow away the specs on both the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. However, at the $499 price tag for the One X, a custom PC can’t come close in a price fight.

We build custom gaming PCs all the time and even at our dealer discounts, we wouldn’t be able to build one for ourselves for less than $1,000.

One final thought/opinion, Microsoft has a history of delivering raw power with fewer game choices. So when comparing consoles this can make a huge difference because fewer games on a powerful console may not be the experience a gamer wants this holiday.

Happy gaming.

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Latest Hacking Tool CherryBlossom Impacts Over 200 Home & Small Business Routers

According to WiKiLeaks, the CIA developed and implemented CherryBlossom with the help of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International).

The article states that, “CherryBlossom provides a means of monitoring the Internet activity of and performing software exploits on Targets of interest. In particular, CherryBlossom is focused on compromising wireless networking devices, such as wireless routers and access points (APs), to achieve these goals. Such Wi-Fi devices are commonly used as part of the Internet infrastructure in private homes, public spaces (bars, hotels or airports), small and medium sized companies as well as enterprise offices. Therefore these devices are the ideal spot for “Man-In-The-Middle” attacks, as they can easily monitor, control and manipulate the Internet traffic of connected users. By altering the data stream between the user and Internet services, the infected device can inject malicious content into the stream to exploit vulnerabilities in applications or the operating system on the computer of the targeted user.”

The routers and Wi-Fi devices that are impacted include those manufactured by 3Com, Cisco, Belkin, D-Link, Linksys and other popular brands.
A full list can be found here.

Not only is this new threat an invasion of privacy and unconstitutional, it now poses an increased risk of CherryBlossom falling into the wrong hands and being used by hackers worldwide.

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Why Would A Tech Company Post A Photo Of A Bowl Of Fruit?

Many of our clients are older adults and they require extra time and attention. After all, they didn’t grow up with technology and often feel lost and overwhelmed by technology.

We had a couple come into our location at 34th & Soncy who needed that extra little bit of care and attention. They were very grateful for our help and wanted to show us that they appreciated us.

“What kind of soda do you drink?” the gentleman asked, “I’d like to go down the street and bring you back a soda.”
“I don’t drink sodas sir.” Maybe Carlos (one of our amazing Techs) would like one?
“No sir, I don’t drink sodas either sir.” He replied.

“What do you all drink all day?’ The man asked.
“Water sir.” We all said.

The lady spoke up, “What comforts you? I mean, what gets you guys by?”

Someone said “Good music and beautiful women ma’am.”

The couple laughed, thanked us and left.

A few minutes later, the woman returned with a basket of fruit.
“We just had to find a way to thank you all for being so kind and patient with us. We know that technology is difficult and it takes extra time and patience with us and you were all so accommodating. We felt we had to do something, and since you all appear to be so healthy we thought a basket of fruit might be something you would enjoy.”

We were all surprised and thanked the lady for the generous and thoughtful gift.

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Russian Hackers Develop A New Malware To Target U.S. Electric Grid

Russian hackers have developed a new weapon in the form of a new malware family directly targeting systems that operate the U.S. electricity grid.

According to this Washington Post article, researchers from Dragos Inc and ESET identified the new threat that is being called CrashOverride. So far the malware has only disrupted the power grid of one energy system in the Ukrane, but with modifications it could be weaponized and used to target the U.S. according to Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos Inc. “It’s the culmination of over a decade of theory and attack scenarios,” Caltagirone warned. “It’s a game changer.” That attack, which left 225,000 customers without power, was carried out by Russian government hackers, according to US research groups..

Dragos Inc is calling the hacking group that created the new malware “Electrum.”

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Oops!… They’re At It Again


One of the tricky things about running an effective malware organization is hiding your servers on the internet so that the good guys can’t find them and shut them down, while allowing the malware and coders to find them and do their respective jobs.

Turla, which is an “advanced persistent threat” hacking group based in Russia, has found a way around this by hiding encrypted information on their servers in the comments of Britney Spears Instagram account.

According to an analysis by ESET, an experienced security research group, “The extension uses a URL to reach its C&C (Command and Control Servers), but the URL path is nowhere to be found in the extension code. In fact, it will obtain this path by using comments posted on a specific Instagram post. The one that was used in the analyzed sample was a comment about a photo posted to the Britney Spears official Instagram account.”

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Is ExplodingCan The Next Big Threat Or Will It Fizzle Out?

According to a blog post by Secarma Cybersecurity Experts, the next big Ransomware threat after WannaCry may be called ‘ExplodingCan’ and uses similar vulnerabilities leaked by The Shadow Brokers.

WannaCry was used as an attack from stolen exploits from the NSA. Predicting what will be done next with those stolen exploits is the trick.

According to the blog “Looking at the available exploits we focused initially on “ExplodingCan” (all the exploits have memorable names). This is listed to exploit fully patched Windows 2003 servers offering IIS 6.0 under certain conditions. It seems right up our attacker’s street as it will target legacy systems.”

the exploit that would allow ExplodingCan to work is publicly available and has already been used in the wild. Microsoft has also already stated their intention is to not patch 2003 servers.

Microsoft ended support for Server 2003 on July 14th, 2015, however many are still in use worldwide.

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