Malware-splosion: 2013 Will be Malware’s Biggest Year Ever
According to the German security company AV-Test, malware has exploded in the past five years to unprecedented levels. More troublingly, they anticipate seeing over 60 million new pieces of malicious software by the end of the year.
Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-Test, told SecurityWatch that his company has been compiling malware samples since 1984. Their database had humble beginnings: just 12 samples of malicious software. By 2003 there were over a million and nearly ten million by 2008. But by the beginning of this year, the number had jumped to 104,437,337 unique samples.
"The AV-TEST database used to record current malware is now working flat out," said Marx. He went on to say that the system has already recorded, "over 20 million samples of new malware between January and the beginning of May."
To put those numbers in context, AV-Test didn't reach 20 million new samples until August of last year. In 2011 and 2010, the company collected less than 20 million samples.
HP Unleashes Affordable, Powerful Desktops
HP today unveiled a new series of desktop PCs, including a budget desktop, higher-end gaming towers, and all-in-one PCs. The Bay Area-based company hits all the major price points, with the new models retailing from $289 to $1,099.
The HP Pavilion TouchSmart All-in-One PCs, namely the HP TouchSmart 20 and HP TouchSmart 23, offer a five-point optical touch screen. The widescreen, LED backlit display on both models is attached to a thin easel stand that can adjust from 10 to 25 degrees. The systems can be configured with either an AMD or 4th generation Intel processor, and up to 2TB of storage. In addition to HP's suite of apps, there's also 25GB of free Box cloud storage in the U.S. The HP Pavilion TouchSmart 20 All-in-One will be available June 23 for $619.99, while the 23-inch version comes out June 5 with prices starting at $749.
Those on a tight budget may want to take a gander at the the HP 110, which is targeted toward users who need a computer for daily tasks like email and social networking. It also includes the option of AMD or Intel processors and up to 2TB of of internal hard disk drive storage. There's up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, a built-in 6-in-1 media card reader, and an optional, integrated optical drive. This desktop is out June 5, and pricing starts at a low $289.
AMD Releases New Temash, Kabini, and Richland APUs
AMD today announced the availability a new set of dual- and quad-core processors for the so-called convergence form factors between mobile OS tablets and Windows-based, high-end performance notebooks. The APUs are code named Temash, Kabini, and Richland, and are aimed at the mobility, mainstream, and performance categories, respectively.
AMD's dual-core A4 and A6 Temash-based processors will concentrate on the category that AMD calls Elite Mobility. These are the touch-based tablets, hybrids, and notebooks under 13 inches in screen size. They are also the so-called performance tablets that are more powerful than the mobile OS tablets like the iPad or basic Windows 8 tablets powered by Intel Atom processors.
The A4-1200, A4-1250, and A6-1450 processors will bring Radeon HD 8100 and 8200 graphics to the tablet form factor, partly for games but also to help with HD video decoding. The A4-1200 in particular has a TDP of 3.9 Watts, which means it will be power saving and cool running.
AMD's quad core A4, A6, and dual core E-series Kabini-based processors are the middle-tier products in this launch cycle, and are designed for higher graphics and computing performance than the Elite Mobility models, along with longer battery life. AMD is claiming better performance per Watt than competing Intel Core processors, as well as better DX11 3D graphics. The A4-5000 and A6-5200 are quad-core processors with Radeon HD 8300 and 8400 graphics. The E1-2100, E1-2500, and E2-3000 dual-core processors have Radeon HD 8200 graphics and are designed to compete with Intel's Celeron dual-core processors.
Microsoft Hints at Xbox One-Windows Phone Integration
LAS VEGAS—Hey, you know what we didn't hear about at this week's Xbox One launch? Windows Phone. While Microsoft's mobile platform has only 3 percent market share and a unique connection with Xbox, the company still didn't take a moment during the launch to let Windows Phone draft off of its new, blockbuster set-top box.
But that doesn't mean there's nothing to say, just that they're not saying it.
"Is there anything I can say? No. It doesn't mean there's nothing that's being worked on. There's some time between now and the delivery of Xbox One. It is true that the general idea of an increased seamlessness and integration across these elements is a goal," Microsoft senior marketing manager Greg Sullivan told PCMag on Wednesday here at the CTIA trade show.
Windows Phone has Xbox-branded games and an Xbox-branded media store. It lets you accumulate Xbox gamer points and connect to the Xbox Live network. I tried to tease out whether Microsoft would extend the Xbox One's streaming media channels to Windows Phone, but no dice.
"I would offer up Windows Phone as evidence of great cross-divisional collaboration at Microsoft. Are we where we'll ultimately be? No, and we'll continue to improve it," Sullivan said enigmatically.
HP Posts Losing Quarter as Struggles Continue
Hewlett-Packard's struggle to turn things around continued in the second quarter as the computing giant reported double-digit year-over-year declines in revenue and net income. But CEO Meg Whitman on Wednesday promised that better times were around the corner.
HP reported second-quarter sales of $27.6 billion, down 10 percent from the second quarter of 2012, and profits of $1.1 billion, a 32 percent decline from the year-ago period. Earnings per share (EPS) of $0.55 was also down 31 percent, but in the second quarter, HP did return $1.1 billion in cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases, the company said.
"After returning more than a billion dollars to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends in the quarter, we improved our operating company net debt position for the fifth successive quarter. By the end of fiscal 2013, we expect our operating company net debt to be below pre-Autonomy levels and approaching our goal of approximately zero," Whitman said in a statement, referring to HP's 2011 acquisition of enterprise software developer Autonomy and the $8.8 billion impairment charge the company was hit with over that deal.
Whitman shot from the hip during an earnings call Wednesday afternoon, telling investors and analysts that there were "no excuses" for HP's recent performance and execution.
"We need to a better job in transitioning from the technologies that worked in the past to the technologies which will work in the future. There are no excuses. We simply have to perform better," she said.
Google Revamps Drive for Android, Adds Document ‘Scan’ Function
Google on Wednesday updated its Drive for Android app with a new look and features aimed at making it easier to store and access your files on the go.
The Web giant revamped the app's user interface so that files are now displayed in a clean, simple grid view. You can also swipe between photos and other files to see large previews, which should make it a little easier to find and review the specific files you need.
"The updated Drive for Android app also gives you to a way to keep track of important paper documents like receipts, letters, and billing statements," Google software engineer Denis Teplyashin wrote in a blog post. A new "scan" feature lets you snap a photo of your document and Drive will turn it into a PDF that is stored in your account.
Even better, Drive can recognize text in scanned documents thanks to optical character recognition (OCR) technology, meaning you can search by the contents of the document to find it later. This feature is available from the Add New menu.
"No more frantic scrambling through drawers looking for a receipt or digging through your pockets to find that business card — just scan, upload and search in Drive," Teplyashin wrote.
Penguin Settles E-Book Price-Fixing Suit for $75 Million
Book publisher Penguin today announced a $75 million deal that settles a class-action lawsuit over e-book price-fixing.
The deal must still be approved by the court, but if it goes through, consumers who overpaid for e-books thanks to the price-fixing scheme could get a cut of that $75 million.
This case dates back to April 2012, when the Department of Justice filed suit against Apple and five other publishers for an alleged "illegal conspiracy" involving e-book price fixing. At the time, Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin planned to fight the government, while Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster agreed to a proposed settlement. Macmillan and Penguin later settled, but Apple is fighting the case.
The investigation, however, prompted a number of consumer lawsuits, which were eventually consolidated into one class-action suit. Today, in cooperation with 33 state attorneys general, Penguin announced a settlement to that suit.
"This proposed settlement is a powerful demonstration of what is possible when federal, state and private class antitrust enforcement lawyers work together," Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement. "In this case, the level of cooperation was unprecedented, and the results that we were able to deliver to the states and consumers demonstrate that."
Study: Electronics Use on U.S. Flights On the Rise
The use of electronic devices by airline travelers in the United States has been surging over the past four years and grew again in the first several months of 2013, according to a new study from DePaul University's Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Planning.
Nearly 1,700 passengers on 23 U.S. domestic flights were observed at random intervals in the last several months for the study, according to its authors. Some 35 percent were seen to be using "tablets and other sophisticated devices," up from 28 percent in 2012 and 17.6 percent in 2010, they said.
Lead author Joe Schwieterman and co-author and data collector Brandi DeLoatch said the growing amount of time being spent using such devices during air travel called into question the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) long-standing ban on using electronics during takeoffs and landings.
"The study shows a rather startling increase in the use of personal electronic devices by airline passengers—a huge jump since last year. We also show that the amount of 'disrupted technological activity' due to the FAA ban on the use of devices at takeoff/landing has more than doubled since 2010. We think the FAA needs to fast-track its analysis about lifting the ban," DeLoatch said.
AMD Hits Game Console Trifecta With Xbox One
It's been an open secret for quite some time, but now it's official—Advanced Micro Devices has hit the trifecta with the selection of its chips for all three of the major eighth-generation game consoles, including Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One.
The Xbox One and Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 will both feature customized AMD accelerated processor units (APUs) integrating the chip maker's forthcoming Jaguar-class CPU cores and Radeon graphics, as well as a memory controller, video decoder, and other functionality. The Nintendo Wii U, released last November, relies on an IBM PowerPC 750 CPU but also incorporates an AMD-designed GPU.
Specs had already been revealed for the PlayStation 4, and obviously also for the Wii U, so Tuesday's Xbox One reveal by Microsoft made AMD's trifecta official.
"AMD is very excited to be working with Microsoft on their next-generation Xbox One. The Microsoft Xbox One leverages a single-chip, semi-custom AMD APU, with custom components co-developed with Microsoft designed to enable unique attributes of the system Microsoft is bringing to market," Saeid Moshkelani, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's Semi-Custom Business Unit, said in a statement.