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Written by and opinion of: Justin Lawless, CEO of Intact Software.
My latest roundup of what’s happening in the tech world…
The Samsung Chemistry – a total recall
The technology giant Samsung are facing some serious brand damaging issues. The Galaxy Note 7 was hurried to market to beat the launch of the iPhone 7, and as a result shipped a significant number of Note 7s that had faulty batteries; which subsequently saw them exploding and bursting into flames. If you have been on a plane recently, you would have heard the warning to turn off any Galaxy Note 7s and to not put them in your bag in the hold. Pilots never fear crashing but they really fear a fire on board.
Technology is a hard science and software and hardware companies often get it wrong. But you must judge tech companies on how they respond to defects. Samsung appeared to get this right….
However, the replacement units are also bursting into flames, including a unit that was in a passengers pocket on a plane that was thankfully still on the ground. To make matters worse, while it seemed that Samsung got the first recall right, rumours are rife that a tech support person sent a message to the wrong number seemingly suggesting should he 'delay this and make it go away?'. Speculation is also that Samsung's ‘fix’ was a firmware one, preventing the unit from fully charging therefore reducing the stress on the lithium ion battery resulting in it impacting on the performance of the device. Well, this is the end of the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung have announced a full recall recommending that you bring your unit back to the store you bought it in. If it was remotely sold, they will send you a fireproof box and safety gloves.
This will have a significant impact on the Samsung brand and share price and people are now looking into washing machines, tumble dryers etc. going on fire. By the way, I feel it my duty to inform you, having experienced one first hand, tumble dryer fires are much more prevalent than you would think. On average 3 fires a day in the UK are started by tumble dryers… not just Samsung ones.
At a time when the Galaxy Note 7 could have stolen market share from the now headphone jack-less iPhone 7, it seems Apple could be rubbing their very rich hands together and welcome refunded ‘Galaxy Note 7 lovers’ into their ecosystem.
Oh Yahoo, what did you do?
US giant Verizon famously agreed to acquire the aging search engine / content site Yahoo for $4.8bn dollars having fought off competition from, well, who knows? CEO Marissa Meyer was tasked with getting the company into a position where it could be sold following some tumultuous years at the helm. The really valuable parts of Yahoo (their stake in Alibaba, Yahoo Japan & their patent portfolio) were not part of the deal, but the content, email, advertising & mobile pieces of the business were.
So why is this important? It was discovered that the company had a security breach some time ago, where hundreds of millions of email accounts were compromised.
What makes it worse? Doing the right thing following an exploit is important. Yahoo - should have made their users aware in order for them to check passwords, change them and understand any threats that they may face. Yahoo obviously were aware of this and kept it quiet - perhaps they felt that this may have disrupted their Verizon deal.
Could it get worse? Well yes it can…. It seems now that the source of the exploit was based in low level code that appears to have been put in ON PURPOSE by Yahoo people. It seems a government required back door was created unbeknown to the security team
Surely that's it? - Oh no, it seems that Yahoo removed the ability for users to forward emails automatically to another address… for example - had your email address been compromised you may decide to opt for a Gmail account instead and inform all your contacts. Typically you would set your Yahoo address to forward to your Gmail and set up an autoresponder to inform your contacts that your Gmail account is now your preferred one.
So Yahoo blocked users from being able to do this…. Obviously to keep their 'active' user numbers up.
Rumours are rife that Verizon are now looking for a $1bn discount off their buying price. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a 'get out of jail clause' in their acquisition and due dil process so perhaps Yahoo will get what it deserves.
For the enterprise tech geeks, Microsoft has made Server 2016 available for download for testing and more or less general release purposes from their TechNet Evaluation Centre. As usual, the Intact geeks will be all over this and testing it with iQ & V Line and all configurations relevant for our user base. If this kind of thing floats your boat, you can get access to it from here
New Cybercrime tactics
This blog focuses on three things:
1 – Business and technology related news
2 – Some fun stuff
3 – Security related news and this is an important one.
Symantec have spotted a sudden surge in Windows Script Files (.WSF) in emails and it turns out that they are being used to distribute ransomware, the worst type of malicious software out there. Ransomware is a massive threat to business and individuals and involves a bad guy (pretending he (or she) is a good guy), sending you an email with a seemingly important attachment… that actually contains advanced cryptography that finds all the files on your PC and your server and encrypts them.
What does this mean? When you try to open these files – it will ask you for a password or a key or in some cases won’t even let you see the filenames in the way you were used to seeing them.
What can you do? Anti-virus and other security technology is always playing catch up. Users must be educated not to click on something they are not expecting, or something that sounds too good to be true e.g. a tax rebate or a gas bill overcharge.
The infamous CEO/CFO mail has caught out quite a few where the CFO gets an email from the (fake) CEO, asking for money to be transferred ASAP to this account.
We at Intact have seen this many times and to quote our CFO, Fergal Barry, “Justin I got this email from you asking to transfer €18,000 to an account. I knew it wasn’t you because the email sounded way too polite”. This is a perfect example of being aware and that users should suspect emails they are not expecting. Now you know to watch out for WSF files that may be attached to emails or buried in a .ZIP file.
The rise of WSF files.
Hints & Tips and Fun Stuff
A nice website
This week’s tip is focused on Ireland and a really nice, new and functional website at www.lost.ie. It’s Ireland’s largest lost and found property website.
Sources: Twit.tv, ZDNet, Tech Crunch