8-inch Emdoor EM-i8080 tablet runs Windows 8.1, costs just $100

Windows tablets are aggressively coming down in price, having reached the $100 / €100 mark. The Emdoor EM-i8080 packs surprisingly good specs for one Ben Franklin, but also some disappointing compromises.

The EM-i8080 has an 8″ IPS screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution and is powered by a quad-core Atom processor (Bay Trail). It even has stereo speakers.

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Pebble update allows you to rearrange launcher menu

Pebble has issued a new firmware update (version 2.2) for its smartwatch that introduces some important new features like rearranging the apps in your Launcher Menu. You also get volume control in the Music app, which has also been redesigned with a better layout, alarm vibrations that go for more than 60 seconds and the usual bug fixes and stability improvements.

The update is seeding as we speak. You can check for it through your Pebble smartphone app but keep in mind that it may take time to get to your device – one of more than 400 thousand units.

If you’re on iOS you’ll need to update your Pebble app in order to get music volume control to work.

Many users will rejoice at the alarm improvements – Pebble’s smartwatchrd used to be able to vibrate for no more than a minute, which is now 10. Rearranging your launcher apps is also a godsend as many were complaining that they had to scroll through an entire list before they get to their most used apps.

If you’re an owner of the Pebble or Pebble Steel smartwatches look the update up.
Source | Via

Apple AppStore now hosts 1.2 million titles

Fresh off the WWDC come the Apple AppStore latest official stats. Apple was proud to share that its app repository now hosts 1.2 million app titles.

Not only that, but the total number of app downloads has now reached 75 billion. The numbers certainly sound impressive.

The AppStore seems to be quite popular. It attracts as many as 300 million visitors every week.

It certainly has to do with the fact that some 130 million of people bought their first iOS device in this past year alone. It seems the iOS mobile devices are enjoying a substantially higher growth than what Mac OS computers.

The Apple WWDC 2014 keynote is still under way. You can follow it live as it unfolds right here or you can just keep an eye on our homepage for a coverage of the major announcements.

Apple, Google, and others sign $324 million settlement for colluding not to hire employees

Several major Silicon Valley companies have reached a settlement with some 64,000 workers for allegedly colluding not to hire each other’s employees.

Apple, after adamantly denying that former CEO Steve Jobs made an agreement with Intel, Google, and Adobe brass not to poach employees, has agreed to settle out of court.

The lawsuit was enacted on behalf of Silicon Valley employees that accused the companies of conspiring to keep wages down and minimize their ability to find employment with the competition. Also revealed were allegations that Steve Jobs threatened Google exec Eric Schmidt after he had hired former Apple employees.

Nevertheless, the $324.5 million settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to the profits each of these companies makes, and is ultimately a smarter move than risking a prolonged hearing or trial that would have resulted in higher legal fees.

Michael Devine, one of the four named plaintiffs in the case, has raised an objection over the relatively small amount which the companies got away with – a far cry from the $9 billion in damages sought. US District Judge Lucy Koh, who has presided over several Apple vs. Samsung patent trials in the US, will preside over the accord in a hearing held June 19.


Specs and pricing details of Surface Pro 3 emerge

Microsoft has already sent out press invites for a “small” Surface event in New York on May 20. The Redmond giant is more than likely to announce the Surface Mini tablet there and it looks like we might also see the unveiling of the Surface Pro 3. Better yet we have some details regarding the hardware specs and pricing of the alleged tablet right now.

According to a report, the Surface Pro 3 will be up for grabs in five different versions with varying hardware configurations and pricing.

Here’s a list of the five variants along with its rumored price tags –

• i3 CPU – 4GB RAM – 64GB SSD- $799
• i5 CPU – 4GB RAM – 128GB SSD – $999
• i5 CPU – 8GB RAM – 256GB SSD- $1299
• i7 CPU – 8GB RAM – 256GB SSD – $1549
• i7 CPU – 8GB RAM – 512GB SSD – $1949

Microsoft will also introduce a set of newly designed covers for the Surface Pro 3. We are not sure what the new design is all about, but the new type of back covers will be available in black, purple, cyan and red color options.

The successor of Surface Pro 2 is rumored to feature a smaller bezel, larger display and a relocated Windows button. Microsoft’s event is just about two days away and we are hoping to hear more about the Surface Pro 3 then. As always, we will be bringing you all the latest news from the event, so stay tuned.


People the weakest link in security

Whether it’s resisting change from necessary security measures, not understanding the risk to a business, or being a rogue employee who circumvents corporate security completely, people are at the centre of security failures or compromises.

In a ZDNet Australia panel discussion held on Thursday, September 5, in Sydney, five high-ranking IT officers discussed what their greatest fears for their organisations were, and whether the businesses even know what their risk profiles are.

ZDNet heard from the top IT minds from the Federal Treasury, Transport for NSW, Harbour City Ferries, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

A disconnect between IT and decision makers

Deloitte’s national lead partner for security Tommy Viljoen said there is a significant disconnect between what IT decision makers such as the executive board see as acceptable, and the IT managers or operatives that are responsible for the actual exposure of risk.

“The business sets the risk appetite of the organisation, and therefore they should understand where the level risk has been set from a security perspective. A lot of organisations we go into, there’s a disconnect between what the business thinks they’ve got, and what IT has been delivering,” Viljoen said.

Transport for NSW is in the minority, using its previous experiences to present a case to decision makers for what could happen in the event that hackers infiltrate their networks and force an outage.

At the moment, no outages on the transportation network have been as a result of an online attack, but its general manager for security and risk Ajoy Ghosh is now able to quantify to the business how much one would cost. His cost estimates are accurate enough that Transport for NSW is now able to predict the economic cost to the state if, for example, a two-hour outage on the Sydney Trains network were to occur.

While Ghosh appears to be far ahead of others who are still stuck trying to justify the financial costs of implementing and maintaining their security systems, he said this isn’t the only challenge that he and others face.

“What [decision makers] don’t have a clear idea of are the different IT security events that would cause those impacts.

“What I find myself doing is having to educate the decision makers, firstly about those impacts, and secondly about the dependencies of the different IT systems.”

Treasury CIO Peter Alexander had a similar former story of the disconnect occurring within the organisation, but with middle management being unaware that their risk profile was much larger than they believed.

“Our biggest disconnect was our executive and our mid-level managers. Our executive would say that I have this particular bit of content that I know six people across the whole of Treasury have access to … and, of course, it would [actually] be 40.”

Part of the problem, he said, is that organisations are encouraged to collaborate and share information. While he’s an advocate for such behaviour, Alexander said that it often results in heads being butted.

Scaring the pants off your board

Contributing to his solution of this problem has been education, and who best to learn from in Australia but the top spooks themselves from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate?

“They come and brief our secretary’s boards, and scare the pants off them,” he said.

“They would get your laptop and they would go, ‘This is how we break into a laptop,’ and 30 seconds later, they’re starting to get content off it even if it was encrypted.”

As for briefing decision makers, the frequency of these sessions varied depending on the industry. Ex-IT directorate program manager at the Department of Education and Communities, Youssef Moussa, said that these discussions should typically happen weekly, but when previously working in the financial services industry, meetings on information security and risk would happen almost daily.

Implementing security measures

The Treasury is one of the few organisations that have not only implemented the ASD’s mandatory top four mitigation strategies for security, but also the majority of the remaining recommended ones.

“Agencies freak out when you do it, because you go, ‘You’ve got to have application whitelisting, critical patching within two days, access controls, and things like that,'” Alexander said.

“But we bent our culture a bit and got people saying, ‘This works. This enables you to do your job better, more securely,’ and it works pretty well.”

Application whitelisting has been a boon for the Treasury, with Alexander saying that even if users fail on the education side and click on a link, the whitelist means that the malicious app would never launch, or if it is spawned from a drive-by website, it has already been blocked.

A lot of other departments and agencies are having difficulty complying with the now-mandatory requirement to implement the top four strategies, with Alexander saying they either attempt to sign waivers to the effect of accepting the risks or ask for more time. However, he said it isn’t as painful as it seems.

“We turned on BitLocker in the background, let it run for three months to see what it would break, and went, ‘It breaks this, it breaks that, now let’s turn it live and see what else it breaks,’ and it didn’t break that much.”

Biggest security concerns

The Treasury has a significantly higher standard for information security. Defence’s cyber and information security division deputy director Stephen Day said earlier this year that any business connected to the internet and involved in the defence industry is a target for state-sponsored cyber espionage.

This leads to concerns over advanced persistent threats (APTs), rather than the brute-force attacks. Alexander said that the latter sort of attacks have become so routine that it no longer makes sense to report them, instead only raising the flag when something truly significant like an APT hits the radar.

Moussa agreed, stating that it’s really the new APTs that break through the spearphishing attacks, but believes that his organisation sees cloud-based technologies as a pressing issue, given that student records need to be tightly controlled.

“Opening up new areas where your data is no longer under your control, to actually move data out of your organisation, that’s one of the biggest areas of concerns,” he said.

“It’s not just lack of control, it’s the ability for others external to the department [to access] confidential records of students.”

For Harbour City Ferries’ IT manager Adam O’Halloran, however, the biggest problem to security is simple.

“That’s easy. It’s people.”

While most people would pick a technological issue, O’Halloran said it is really the other two aspects to the trifecta: Process and people.

His example was the creation of a new account for a marketing person, which was given the password of “password1”. Shortly after, it was hijacked and used by scammers to spam unsuspecting victims.

Furthermore, he said that despite the technology that is implemented, it could always be circumvented.

“It’s the person’s perception of what is necessary [for security] and if they think it’s unnecessary, they’ll work around it.”

Alexander is of the same opinion.

“It’s people without a doubt,” he said. “It’s the fact that our staff can come in and we can do all these things to lock down our network and build in controls around documents, but we can’t stop them taking a photo of it on their phone unless we don’t let them bring phones into the building, and we’re not a national security organisation, so we don’t do that.”

He said that people have been the weakest link, regardless of the advances in technology. He pointed to the past, where in a world prior to camera-equipped phones, people would photocopy documents and take them out with them anyway.

“We’re a scarred organisation, because we did have a guy a few years ago that did leak a whole bunch of information to the opposition. It’s people. You can’t trust them completely. You can trust them mostly.”