Peter Suciu

About the Author Peter Suciu


Malware

Millions May Have Picked Up FalseGuide Malware at Google Play Store

As many as 2 million Android users might have downloaded apps that were infected with the FalseGuide malware, security research firm Check Point warned on Monday. The oldest of the infected apps could have been uploaded to Google Play as long ago as last November, having successfully remained hidden for five months, while the newest may have been uploaded as recently as the beginning of April.

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Science

Facebook’s Latest Moon Shot: I Think, Therefore I Type

Facebook on Wednesday told its F8 conference audience about two new cutting-edge projects that could change the way humans engage with devices. Over the next two years, the company will work on a new technology that will allow anyone to type around 100 words per minute — not with fingers, but using a process that would decode neural activity devoted to speech. What Facebook envisions is a technology that would resemble a neural network.

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virtual reality

Facebook Builds a VR Space, but Will Anyone Come?

Facebook has announced the beta launch of Facebook Spaces, a new app that allows users to connect with friends and colleagues in an interactive virtual reality environment. It provides a way for social media users to hang out as they might otherwise in person — even bridging great distances — noted Rachel Franklin, head of social VR at Facebook. An avatar represents each user in the VR world.

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Emerging Tech

Elon Musk Plans to Build a Human-AI Interface

Tech visionary Elon Musk has launched a startup, Neuralink, dedicated to developing technology that will connect human brains directly to a computer. This venture is in its very early stages, Musk confirmed. Neuralink, which Musk is funding privately, is a medical research firm that aims to develop “neural lace” — a technology that could allow the implanting of small electrodes into the brain.

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Mobile Apps

Too Much Communication

The world is a smaller place because we have so many ways to connect and communicate, but it has created a generation gap, a gap of classes and perhaps even a culture gap. This may seem like a serious contradiction; after all shouldn’t more means of communication bring us closer together?
The obvious answer is yes, but unfortunately this is not the case.

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Cybersecurity

WikiLeaks Exposes CIA’s Device Surveillance Tricks

WikiLeaks has released more Vault 7 documentation online, including details about several CIA projects to infect Apple’s Mac computer firmware and operating system. The site unloaded its first batch of stolen Vault 7 data earlier this month. The CIA’s Embedded Development Branch developed malware that could persist even if the targeted computer were reformatted and its OS were reinstalled.

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Gaming

Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 Ti Raises Graphical Chip Bar Yet Again

The first reviews of the newly released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti came out on Thursday, and by all accounts this card has performed beyond expectations. Nvidia’s new GPU can perform 35 percent faster than its GTX 1080, the company has claimed. Based on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, this flagship gaming GPU includes next-gen 11-Gbps GDDR5X memory, and an 11-GB frame buffer.

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Gaming

Steamed Over Steam

Where would the PC gaming market be without Steam, the digital distribution platform that was developed by Valve Corporation more than a decade ago? It likely would be in worse shape than it is now, but that’s not to say it would be bad. First, despite the repeated cries that “PC gaming is dead,” the state of PC gaming is actually pretty good and PC gaming is very much alive because of Steam.

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Sales

AI Deconstructs Phone Sales Pitches

SaaS solutions firm Gong last week released the findings of a study on sales phone conversations, including an analysis of gender speaking patterns. Women delivered slightly longer sales monologues, averaging about 9-12 seconds longer than those their male counterparts gave, but men generally spoke faster, the study found. Men tended to speak at a faster pace than women.

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Audio/Video

Facebook Aims to Carve Out a Spot in the Living Room

Facebook is working on a video app for set-top boxes, according to a Wednesday report. The social network wants to deliver longer-form video content — and with it video ads — to the living room TV, the one screen it has been unable to reach. The Facebook app soon could be available on a variety of set-top boxes, including Apple TV. The initiative reportedly began in earnest last summer, after incubating for years as a concept.

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Customer Experience

Banking Customer Satisfaction Barometer Inches Up

Customer satisfaction with banking institutions improved last year, based on the annual Bank Satisfaction Barometer CFI Group released Thursday. Customers were more likely to remain loyal to their bank and even recommend it to others, according to the annual survey of bank customers across the United States. Banks improved their standing with customers and maintained stronger relationships.

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Government

New FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

President Donald Trump on Monday named Ajit Pai chairman of the FCC. Pai, who has been a Republican commissioner for the agency since 2012, replaced Tom Wheeler, whom President Obama appointed to the top post in late 2013. With the new administration, Republicans gain the expected majority of the commission. Pai has been known to be a foe of former President Barack Obama’s Net neutrality rules.

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Wall Street

Netflix Surprises Itself With Gangbusters Membership Growth

Netflix generated $8.3 billion in global streaming revenue in 2016, with 35 percent year-over-year growth, it reported Wednesday. The company ended last year with 93.8 million members, including 19 million net additions — up from 17.4 million new subscribers in 2015. Netflix’s global revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 grew by 41 percent year-over-year to $2.4 billion, and 7.05 million net new members joined during that time period.

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Entertainment

Apple May Show Up Fashionably Late at the Original TV Party

Apple reportedly plans to follow premium channels HBO and Showtime, as well as streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, in creating its own original TV shows and movies. The company may be negotiating agreements with veteran content producers to buy the rights to scripted television programs. It likely will offer its content through an over-the-top service similar to Netflix.

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Emerging Tech

Nvidia Lays Out Bold Strategy at CES

Nvidia offered a bold new strategy at this week’s International CES in Las Vegas. The company, which has been a leader in hardware graphics technology for decades, recently has expanded into the realms of artificial intelligence, deep learning and automotive tech. Graphical support and video delivery will however remain a key component of the company’s strategy, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.

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Trends

Microsoft Trumpets Stellar Surface Sales

Microsoft announced robust sales of its Surface line ahead of the holiday season.
November was the best month ever for consumer Surface sales, according to Brian Hall, CVP of Microsoft devices marketing. The sudden surge follows this fall’s unveiling of the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial, and the Surface Book with Performance Base, which delivers twice the graphics power as its predecessor.

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Chips

Microsoft, Qualcomm Tuck Windows 10 Into ARM Devices

Microsoft on Wednesday announced the compatibility of Windows 10 and native Windows apps with ARM-based processors, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, which currently powers a large percentage of Android devices. The new partnership will make it possible for Windows applications, peripherals and enterprise solutions to run on new mobile, power efficient and always-connected cellular PCs.

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Social Networking

Reddit Has Had It With Trolls

Reddit has announced reforms designed to crack down on trolls and punish its most abusive community members. Reddit has identified hundreds of the most “toxic users,” said CEO Steve Huffman, who founded the site 11 years ago while in college, and it has devised a plan to take action against them. Consequence for unacceptable behavior could range from warnings to timeouts to permanent bans.

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E-Commerce

Cyber Monday Is Bigger Than One Day

Although online retailers on Monday offered deals to jumpstart the online holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday as a one-day event could be losing some of its attraction. Many retailers jumped the gun, and have been offering special online deals for days. Cyber Monday in recent years has ranked as the third largest holiday shopping day, following Super Saturday and Black Friday.

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privacy

iPhone Call Logs Easy Pickings on iCloud, Says Russian Security Firm

Russian digital forensics firm ElcomSoft on Thursday reported that Apple automatically uploads iPhone call logs to iCloud remote servers, and that users have no official way to disable this feature other than to completely switch off the iCloud drive. The data uploaded could include a list of all calls made and received on an iOS device, as well as phone numbers, dates and times, and duration.

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