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Intel Says New Software Updates Make Computers ‘Immune’ to Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

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Intel today announced that the firmware updates and software patches that are being released for its CPUs render Intel-based computer systems “immune” to both the Spectre and Meltdown exploits that were widely publicized this week.

Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems — including personal computers and servers — that render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as “Spectre” and “Meltdown”) reported by Google Project Zero. Intel and its partners have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates.

Intel says updates have been issued for the majority of Intel processor products introduced within the past five years, and by the end of next week, more than 90 percent of processor products from the last five years will be patched.

For Mac users, Apple has already addressed the vulnerabilities in the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update, and further updates will come in macOS High Sierra 10.13.3. To make sure you’re protected as a Mac user, install all of the latest operating system updates and firmware patches. As always, it’s also worth avoiding suspicious programs, websites, and links.

Intel today also reiterated that the updates that are being released for Mac, PC, and Linux machines should not significantly impact day to day usage and should, for the most part, be unnoticeable. That seems to be true of the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 update, as there have been no reports of slowdowns from Mac users.

Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time. While on some discrete workloads the performance impact from the software updates may initially be higher, additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that impact.

While hints of an Intel CPU design flaw and security vulnerability surfaced on Tuesday, it wasn’t until Wednesday that full details were shared on the Meltdown and Spectre exploits, which take advantage of the speculative execution mechanism of a CPU.

Meltdown impacts Intel CPUs, allowing a malicious program to access data from the memory of running apps, providing passwords, emails, documents, photos, and more. Meltdown can be exploited to read the entire physical memory of a target machine, and it can be done through something as simple as a website. The vulnerability is particularly problematic for cloud-based services.

Spectre, which breaks the isolation between different applications, is a wider hardware-based problem impacting all modern Intel, ARM, and AMD processors. Spectre is harder to exploit than Meltdown, but it is also harder to mitigate.

While patches are going out that appear to prevent the current known Meltdown and Spectre exploits, these speculative execution vulnerabilities will continue to be a problem for years to come, according to security researchers. Similar vulnerabilities will surface, and while performance impacts from software-based workarounds are minor, they’re still present.

Paul Kocher, one of the security researchers who helped discover the flaws, told The New York Times that this will be a “festering problem over hardware life cycles.” “It’s not going to change tomorrow or the day after,” he said. “It’s going to take awhile.”

Brooklyn-based writer, editor and creator with a love of all things streetwear and/or delicious. Always on the hunt for the next best coffee shop. Obsessed with new sunglasses.

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The Galaxy S9’s main specs detailed in extensive new report

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In just over a month, the phones many Android fans are waiting for will be finally unveiled in Barcelona, Spain. Samsung confirmed as much last week at CES, putting to rest all rumors that said the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ might be announced earlier than expected.

The phones have hardly been a secret, and we already know Samsung plans to reuse last year’s Galaxy S8 design for one more year. We also have a pretty good idea of the sort of hardware improvements that we can expect from the upcoming Galaxy S9 duo. But a new report from Korea gives us the best look yet at the Galaxy S9’s hardware specs, leaving almost nothing left for Samsung to surprise us with.

The Galaxy S9’s most notable improvement is the camera, Korean language ETNews says. The phone will have a single-lens 12-megapixel rear camera, while the Galaxy S9+ is getting a dual 12-megapixel camera setup on the back. All cameras are going to feature a variable F1.5/F2.4 aperture that will let users operate the phone like a DSLR camera. The variable iris tech was already used in the Samsung W2018 clamshell phone Samsung that was released in China last month.

The Galaxy S9 will also become the first flagship phone in the world with an F1.5 aperture, which will let it capture even more light. Low-light photography should be dramatically improved as a result. Last fall, LG launched a smartphone with an F1.6 aperture, the LG V30.

Another camera feature coming to the Galaxy S9 series is slow motion shooting mode — that’s likely the super slow motion mode that has been mentioned in previous reports. On the front side of the phone, you’ll find an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus. The Galaxy S9’s selfie cam also incorporates the components needed for facial recognition features, and the phone has a standalone iris recognition camera as well.

Aside from the camera, the Galaxy S9 will feature other interesting technology, like the Substrate Like PCB (SLP) mainboard design that will let Samsung squeeze miniaturized circuits into an even smaller space, thus freeing more room for the battery. SLP will be used in roughly 60% of Galaxy S9 units, or the ones that will be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos processor. The iPhone X employs similar tech, and it’s what allowed Apple to reduce the size of the logic board in the handset.

Finally, the report notes that the Galaxy S9 will bring over Samsung’s first display that will incorporate Y-OCTA technology. That’s short for Youm On-Cell Touch AMOLED, and it refers to new display tech that allows Samsung to reduce the overall size and weight of a screen and place the touch sensor right on top of the flexible OLED layer. The report makes no mention of 3D Touch-like support for the Galaxy S9, which had been rumored.

The report does not mention the actual size of the Galaxy S9 batteries, but a report earlier this week hinted Samsung will rely on the same 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh capacities used for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. The new Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be unveiled during a press conference late next month ahead of their expected release on March 16th.

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Bloomberg: Apple hires data scientist team for analytics project

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Apple has hired a team of data scientists from a company called Silicon Valley Data Science, Bloomberg reports. While it doesn’t sound like a full blown acquisition, the report notes that Apple’s hiring spree includes the CEO of the consulting firm.

Apple confirmed some of the hires in a statement to Bloomberg as well:

Founded in 2013, the Mountain View, California-based startup provided data analysis to larger companies to improve their forecasts, operational efficiency, and customer relationships, according to the firm’s website. An Apple spokesman acknowledged a few dozen employees from Silicon Valley Data Science joined the company.

The report goes on to say that the new data scientist hires have been assigned to “analytics in ad-related initiatives” at the company.

The new hiring wave follows Apple’s acquisition of audio recognition service Shazam in December, the startup behind the QuantumFilm image sensor in November, and the team behind the development service Buddybuild earlier this month.

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Razer Phone 2 Could Launch In September With Project Linda

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The Razer Phone was launched back in November of last year and now it looks like we have some details about its successor, the Razer Phone 2.

According to a recent report the second generation Razer Phone will launch in September of 2017. The device is rumored to launch along with the new Project Linda.

Project Linda was revealed at CES 2018 earlier this month, it is an add on device for the Razer Phone that turns the handset into a gaming laptop. As yet there are no specifications on the new Razer Phone 2, although we can expect it to get a number of upgrades over the current handset.

The existing Razer Phone is equipped with a 5.72 inch IGZO LCD display that has a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor and 8GB of RAM. The handset features 64GB of storage and a microSD card slot for expansion.

Other specifications on the device include a8 megapixel front facing camera for Selfies, on the back there are two cameras. One has a 12 megapixel sensor with a wide angle lens. The other has a 13 megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens. The handset comes with a 4000 mAh battery and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+.

As September is the rumored launch date for the second generation Razer Phone it looks like the handset could be made official at Mobile World Congress 2018.

Source Frandroid, GSM Arena

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