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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 13th Sep 2017

'Assume you are already hacked. At all times,' warns Carbon Black security strategist Rick McElroy

Ten lessons from the Equifax breach

It will be a busier than usual weekend for the Equifax IT department...

When we drive past a major car crash, it's a natural reaction to slow down to take a good look.

The first thing most of us think is "Wow, that's awful", quickly followed by "I'm glad that wasn't me". Then we speed up and drive on. Most of us don't spend too much time thinking about how the wreck happened - we were just glad it wasn't us.

A similar sentiment works in cyber security. But instead of focusing on the wreck, the rest of us responsible and accountable for information security must learn and adapt from every attack. So what can we learn from Equifax?

1. Assume you are already hacked. At all times

If you build your operations and defence with this premise in mind, your chances of detecting these types of attack and preventing the breach are much greater than most organisations today.

2. The root cause of the breach was a website vulnerability but the data lived on the endpoint

I don't have any details on the initial attack other than "Equifax discovered that criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files", but too many times when it comes to data protection we focus too often on the network and not enough on the data.

When we do focus on the data, we focus on malware and not enough on attacks. Attackers will use any and all methods they can (typically the cheapest and fastest) to gain access. You need solutions that provide the full end-to-end picture of an attack.

3. Detection still takes too long

Whether it's 10 days, 30 days, 60 days or 210 days, the fact remains that is entirely too long for an attacker to be in your systems. We need to better enable defenders to detect and respond. In this particular case, their detection of the breach was shorter than most; however, the length of time the attackers had access to systems and data left 44 per cent of the population vulnerable to identity theft.

4. Visibility remains the key to detection and prevention

You cannot detect what you cannot see. It's that simple. You need the right data to detect and prevent these types of attacks. Without it, what shot do you have? If you don't have it, go get it. Remember, you are operating as if you are already breached. You wouldn't walk around your house at night without turning on the lights or a flashlight if you thought someone was in your house, would you?

5. We are all in this together

Data is linked. One breach can be leveraged for the next or the next. Think of how this data or the data from the OPM breach can be leveraged for intelligence purposes or cyber crime? We rely (unfortunately) on national insurance number to prove who we are.

Most people now know that and take protecting it semi seriously. What happens when the guardians of this data lapse? Maybe sharing a lesson from another team would have helped…maybe it wouldn't have, but we have to talk about this as a community. We really have to take the lessons learned seriously and drive change in our own programs.

6. It does not matter how big you are or the resources your team can access

I am assuming that Equifax has a larger information security budget than most organisations. As defenders, we always think, "If I only had enough money or people I could solve this problem". We need to change our thinking: It's not how much you spend but, rather, is that spend an effective use? Does it enable your team to disrupt attacks or just wait to be alerted?

7. It's time we really start to look at options for replacing the social security number

We have two factors now for all kinds of things. Except what really matters most for most people.

8. Encryption is your friend

These efforts are never easy to start and the projects take time, but stick it out — the benefits far outweigh the risks.

9. Web application security is still a thing

Markets move and focus shifts over time, but web-application firewalls (WAFs) and dynamic testing are still valuable tools. Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) groups meet all the time. Check out www.owasp.org for lots of useful information and code.

10. Visibility is more crucial than ever

Did I say visibility twice? That's because it's that important. 

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 13th Sep 2017

First news on the NEXT Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone

Samsung: Galaxy Note 9 could be world's first foldable smartphone

The Galaxy Note 8 may well be followed by a 'bendy' successor

Samsung has revealed that its next Galaxy Note smartphone should be foldable, according to Dongjin Koh, the president of Samsung's mobile business. 

The revelation comes just days before the Galaxy Note 8 arrives in the UK.

Koh told reporters at a conference in South Korea that the company hopes to release its first 'bendable' smartphone next year under its flagship Galaxy Note line. However, Koh added that there are still a number of hurdles to overcome and the release would be pushed back if they're not resolved.

"As the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year," he said. "When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product."

This isn't the first we've heard about Samsung's foldable smartphone plans. The company has long teased bendable display prototypes, such as the 'Youm' back in 2013. 

In January this year, rumours had suggested that the firm's first flexible device would be launched this year, as the so-called Samsung Galaxy X. This device, rumours claimed, would arrive as a flexible handset capable of folding out and transforming into a 7in OLED tablet. It's unclear whether Samsung's 2018 Note will offer similar functionality. 

During this week's news conference, Koh also confirmed that Samsung is working with Harman to develop an AI-enabled speaker, in a bid to take on the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. 

It's likely that Bixby will power the upcoming smart speaker, which is codenamed 'Vega' (according to the rumours) and will likely enable users to control connected devices around the home, such as lights, TVs and thermostats, using voice control. 

The speaker was allegedly set to launch alongside the Note 8, but the WSJ reported back in July that progress of the speaker had been held back by the slow roll-out of the US English language version of Bixby. 

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 13th Sep 2017

 

Media captionWATCH: Dave Lee gets hands on with the new iPhone X

When Apple chief Tim Cook declared the iPhone X "the biggest leap forward since the first iPhone" at his latest launch extravaganza, you couldn't help but wonder if he was referring to its features or its price.

With the top-end model costing £1,149, customers are paying a premium to swap their fingerprint sensor for a facial scanner and the ability to make an animated monkey or poo emoji copy their bemused looks.

In opting to refer to the model as "ten" rather than "x", the firm has also thrown its naming convention into a bit of confusion - will there ever be an iPhone 9 - or indeed IX?

Of course, that's a problem for another day. And the internet has had plenty else to chew over in the meantime...


New iPhonesImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionSome critics believe the iPhone X makes the new iPhone 8 models look outdated

Cnet

The two biggest questions for me focus on the iPhone X's most daring design change, ditching the home button. Will it actually make the phone more convenient to use? And will using your face to unlock the phone benefit you, or is it just a workaround?

The Verge

The iPhone X may be the most powerful iPhone ever, but compared to almost any other Android flagships, it's hard to pick out a category where it leads the pack - at least on paper when comparing raw specifications. But if Apple has shown one thing time and again with every iPhone generation, it's that optimisation of hardware and software matter just as much - if not more.

Wall Street Journal

The iPhone X's new design - a 5.8in, edge-to-edge display -has raised hopes that it can reverse Apple's fortunes in China, where sales have fallen six straight quarters. Chinese consumers are more influenced by a phone's appearance than consumers in other markets, and Apple had kept the same appearance for three years.

Bloomberg

A $1,000 iPhone could add as much as 6% to Apple's 2018 earnings per share... but that depends on the iPhone X being a hit, and there's more competition from lower-cost Chinese competitors such as Huawei and Xiaomi, which timed the introduction of their new phones around Apple's launch to attract customers who may be deterred by the iPhone X's price.

Slashgear

Apple has crafted a stunning new flagship. In a time when existing iPhones were starting to look a little - dare I say - pedestrian in comparison to what Samsung, LG, and others were doing in hardware, the iPhone X has accelerated through and can spar with the best of them.

Engadget

What did bother me a little more than expected were the bezels that run around the screen... Given that Apple's competition has done an incredible job trimming the cruft from around their displays, I can't help but feel that the iPhone X's design doesn't have the same kind of impact as, say, the Essential or Samsung's recent Galaxys.

Wired

The very notion of using your face as the key to your digital secrets presents some fundamental problems... It's very hard to hide your face from someone who wants to coerce you to unlock your phone, like a mugger, a customs agent, or a policeman who has just arrested you. In some cases, criminal suspects in the US can invoke the Fifth Amendment protections from self-incrimination to refuse to give up their phone's passcode. That same protection doesn't apply to your face.

Financial Times

All the focus today was on the innovations in the X.But it all made the new 8 look like a rather boring, "plain old" iPhone - and the price for that has just gone up $50 as well.

Techcrunch

The X is the best iPhone, no questions, and it's quickly jumped to the top of the best phones, period. Yeah, it's going to cost you, but you already knew that.


 

Media captionWATCH: Apple's event in two minutes

Twitter:

"I gaze into the iPhone and the iPhone gazes back at me" - Nietzsche. @ericasadun

I'm not sure how the iPhone X face recognition will distinguish between me with make-up and without make-up. Because the difference is real. @kandeejohnson

So if you were sleeping and your girl picks the iPhone X and puts it in your face, it just unlocks it yeah? Lol. Thanks Apple. But no, thanks. @DrOlufunmilayo

TweetImage copyrightTWITTER

I think the leaks spoiled the iPhone X keynote, but Apple also didn't do enough to show why augmented reality matters. @tomwarren

The choice is simple: The iPhone X or 363 coffees. @joshtgoossen

TweetImage copyrightTWITTER

Releasing the iPhoneX and 8 at the same time is strange, surely those who get the 8 will feel they've not got the latest iPhone. @Mr_Iconic

The iPhone X is over a thousand dollars but I get to make myself into a poop emoji, so ya, it's worth it. @donaldcookie


iPhone XImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Facebook

iPhone X has facial recognition. It'll look at your face and tell you that you can't afford it. - Abhimanyu Singh

Face ID seems like an over-engineered fix that they were forced to include because they couldn't integrate a fingerprint scanner into the screen - Nick Farina

How on earth can they justify the same price in $s as in £s... utterly shameful! I wont' be buying on that basis alone. - Darren Taylor

They made the 8 almost identical to the 7 so people would have to spend the extra money for the X. And I'm sure I'll buy one even though I know what they did. - Patrick Michael


 

Media captionWATCH: A hands on with the new iPhone 8 Plus

Reddit

Apple isn't the first in facial recognition (by a long shot) but they will without a doubt make facial recognition competitive by making it better. This is how they always work. - Leprecon

The lack of any fingerprint reader could cause problems for people who either cover their face for religious or professional reasons as well as for blind people. Really hoping Apple thought about these issues. - danius353

The iPhone home button was what made it look like a iPhone. The little round button was so iconic. Now the iPhone X looks like any other phone really especially if you put a case on it. - Ihavefallen

X2? XS? What are they going to call the next one? - Alteran195

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th Aug 2017

Half of crimes involve 'digital technology' that police lack the skills to deal with, warns Reform

British police need training in IT skills to handle surge in online crimes, claims Reform thinktank, with half of crimes now involving 'digital technology'

Policing used to be very different...

British police are urgently in need of IT training, according to think tank reform. 

In a report, called Bobbies on the Net, the organisation claimed that it spoke to more than "40 police officers, staff, government officials and experts, visited five forces, held a focus group, and analysed public data," to reach its conclusions. 

It says that the police are already struggling to cope with crime enabled by the internet, and that won't change without a big improvement in police force's IT skills.

 

"As crime changes, police forces must respond. Technological developments in recent decades - most notably the growth of the internet - have digitised traditional forms of crime, providing new opportunities for fraudsters, sex offenders and drug dealers. Technology also creates a new frontline of crime, which previously would not have existed," it warned.

It added: "The implications of the fourth industrial revolution are yet to be fully understood. Today, almost half of crime relies on digital technology, and that is likely to rise. Law-enforcement agencies must address this demand."

According to the Office for National Statistics, some of this is quite right. In January this year, the ONS included cyber crimes in its overall crime statistics and found that it had to make a lot of room for them thanks to some two million computer misuse crimes and over one million fraud cases.

David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said that the police need to get on top of this and try and get young people to study technology. He added that this goes for all industries.

"With the rise of crime in the cyber world, it is crucial that the skill set of police officers matches the importance of this new battleground," he said. 

"The focus for police forces, like any other organisation, should be on ongoing education and upskilling existing staff. Many industries are suffering from a lack of technology skills, and this can only be remedied by increasing internal awareness and by encouraging young people with a passion for cybersecurity to use their skills for the greater good."

While we are at it, we might as well add that it is important that you use a strong, hard to guess password and don't Snapchat your PIN number - that's just asking for it. 

It's also unwise to run out-of-date operating systemsno longer supported and regularly patched

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th Aug 2017

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, with their daughters August and MaximaImage copyrightMARK ZUCKERBERG

Facebook's co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has urged his young daughter to play outside and enjoy the wonders of being a kid, in a heartfelt letter posted on his social media site.

The letter was published on Monday to announce the birth of his second child, August, with wife Priscilla Chan.

In the gushing missive, the parents speak about the magic of childhood and the importance of play.

The couple posted a similar letter to daughter Max in 2015.

The post, which appears alongside a family photo on Mr Zuckerberg's Facebook page, encourages the new arrival not to "grow up too fast".

"The world can be a serious place. That's why it's important to make time to go outside and play," said the letter, signed "Mom and Dad".

The call to discover a childhood outdoors is at odds with the aims of the billionaire's social media empire.

Childhood 'magical'

"I hope you run as many laps around our living room and yard as you want. And then I hope you take a lot of naps," the parents wrote.

"Childhood is magical. You only get to be a child once, so don't spend it worrying too much about the future," they said.

It marks a lighter tone from the open letter written to welcome Max, which reflected on the problems facing younger generations and how technological progress will drive change.

At that time, the couple said they would donate their fortune to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to make the world a better place for Max to grow up in.

The organisation has pledged billions of dollars to improve life for their children's generation with goals such as eliminating disease.

But the parents wanted to shield their latest addition from these kinds of concerns, telling their daughter not to worry about the future, adding: "You've got us for that."

"You will be busy when you're older, so I hope you take time to smell all the flowers and put all the leaves you want in your bucket now," they said.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th Aug 2017

A security researcher has found that the popular weather app sends private location data without the user's explicit permission to a firm designed to monetize user locations.

accuweather.jpg

(Image: supplied)

Popular weather app AccuWeather has been caught sending geolocation data to a third-party data monetization firm, even when the user has switched off location sharing.

AccuWeather is one of the most popular weather apps in Apple's app store, with a near perfect four-star rating and millions of downloads to its name. But what the app doesn't say is that it sends sensitive data to a firm designed to monetize user locations without users' explicit permission.

Security researcher Will Strafach intercepted the traffic from an iPhone running the latest version of AccuWeather and its servers and found that even when the app didn't have permission to access the device's precise location, the app would send the Wi-Fi router name and its unique MAC address to the servers of data monetization firm Reveal Mobile every few hours. That data can be correlated with public data to reveal an approximate location of a user's device.

We independently verified the findings, and were able to geolocate an AccuWeather-running iPhone in our New York office within just a few meters, using nothing more than the Wi-Fi router's MAC address and public data.

accuweather-2-jpg.jpg

(Image mashup: ZDNet; Mylnikov GEO)

When the location is enabled, it sends the down-to-the-meter precise coordinates of the user, including speed and altitude, back to the data firm.

That's where Reveal Mobile comes in. The data firm isn't an advertiser per se but helps provide data for advertisers. Reveal says it "turns the location data coming out of those apps into meaningful audience data," and "we listen for [latitude and longitude] data and when a device "bumps" into a Bluetooth beacon," according to a brochure on its website.

For its part, Reveal Mobile executives said on a call last week with ZDNet that though company does collect Wi-Fi data and MAC address information, it "does not use it" for location data.

"Everything is anonymized," said Brian Handley, the company's chief executive. "We're not ever tracking an individual device," but described a situation where his company can point advertising to customers inside a Starbucks location, for example.

According to one AccuWeather executive, Reveal Mobile's technology "has not been in our application long enough to be usable yet."

"In the future, AccuWeather plans to use data through Reveal Mobile for audience segmentation and analysis, to build a greater audience understanding and create more contextually relevant and helpful experiences for users and for advertisers," said David Mitchell, AccuWeather's executive vice president of emerging platforms, on the call.

But while AccuWeather's privacy says that the company and its partners may use geolocation tracking technologies, its privacy policy doesn't specifically state that this data will be used for advertising, Strafach told ZDNet.

"Essentially I see a few problems," he said. "AccuWeather get GPS access under an entirely innocent premise -- no users expect the location data to be used this way," he said.

Several people have tweeted at Strafach in recent days to say they have deleted the app, based on his findings.

"When GPS access is not allowed, the app sends the [Wi-Fi network name] and possibly uses their Bluetooth beacon technology. This seems especially problematic as their website plainly states that use of Wi-Fi information is for geolocation, and that seems a bit over the line for situations where the user pretty clearly does not wish to share their location," he said.

In a blog post detailing his findings, Strafach said that similar opt-out geolocation tracking behaviors have in the past caught the eye of the enforcement arm of the Federal Trade Commission.

A 2016 case saw the FTC bring action against one offending app after it "deceived consumers by presenting them with an option to not share their information, even though it was shared automatically rendering the option meaningless."

A spokesperson for AccuWeather denied that the cases were similar. "Our legal team does not believe those cases are on point relative to our practices," said the spokesperson.

"This is a quickly evolving legal field and what is best practice one day may change the next; and... we take privacy issues very seriously," the spokesperson said. "We work to have our [terms of service and agreements] as current as the law is evolving and often beyond that which may be legally required to protect the privacy of our users."

Reveal Mobile has since published a statement noting that it follows "all app store guidelines, honoring all device level and app level opt-outs and permissions."

AccuWeather later in the day said in a follow-up joint statement with Reveal Mobile that the companies will update their apps and services following ZDNet's report.

"Reveal is updating its SDK and pushing out new versions of the [software kit] in the next 24 hours, with the iOS update going live [Tuesday]," said an AccuWeather spokesperson. "The end result should be that zero data is transmitted back to Reveal Mobile when someone opts out of location sharing."

"In the meanwhile, AccuWeather had already disabled the [software kit], pending that update," the spokesperson confirmed.

Source: zdnet.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th Aug 2017

Infected apps have been downloaded more than 50 million times

More than 500 Android apps pulled from Google Play after spyware backdoor uncovered, with infected apps having been downloaded more than 100 million times

News of yet-more insecure Android apps comes the same day that Google releases Android O

More than 500 popular apps have been removed from the Google Play Store after a backdoor was found enabling developers to add spyware at any time, according to mobile security firm LookOut. 

A large number of apps using the Igexin software development kit (SDK) have been found to carry the flaw, totaling more than 100 million downloads.

A blog post from two of LookOut's researchers explains: "It is becoming increasingly common for innovative malware authors to attempt to evade detection by submitting innocuous apps to trusted app stores, then at a later time, downloading malicious code from a remote server.

 

"Igexin is somewhat unique because the app developers themselves are not creating the malicious functionality - nor are they in control or even aware of the malicious payload that may subsequently execute. Instead, the invasive activity initiates from an Igexin-controlled server."

The apps affected are not niche. Igexin-enabled apps include games targeted at teens (one of which was in the 50-100 million downloads band), weather apps (one of which has between one and five million downloads), Internet Radio (500,000-1 million), Photo editors (1-5 million) as well as other categories including educational, health and fitness, travel, emoji and home video camera apps.

The research came about after some large, encrypted files were being downloaded by the app from a series of initial requests to a REST API. This is a common technique for such viral "afterware".

LookOut, which has warned many times of Android malware dangers, emphasises that many developers probably weren't even aware of what evil lurks under the bonnet of their apps and unwittingly gave Igexin wide-ranging permissions. It also points out that not all versions of Igexin are evil and that Igexin, the company behind the SDK, probably isn't either - just careless. 

Although LookOut has declined to name the apps in question it points out that users of its security apps are protected from the issue. We'd assume this applies to most anti-malware suites for Android. 

Apps affected have been removed and, in most cases, replaced with safe versions. 

For its part, Google recently launched Google Play Protect, an in-built suite of security features to root out dodgy apps at the cloud level, before they even touch your phone. 

About time, too. 

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st Aug 2017

Experts advise on the IT skills that businesses really want

Which programming languages should you learn to get a good career in IT?

Good career paths aren't necessarily clearly signposted

No one ever got fired for buying IBM, as the saying goes, and by the same token no one will go far wrong learning Python or one of the other ‘big four'.

"There are so many new programming languages coming out but the most in demand are still Java, Python, C and C++. These four fundamental pillars are what make up the majority of businesses' code," said Trikha (pictured).

But what of JavaScript, the language that StackOverflow currently rates the most popular? Could this be because StackOverflow's readers are disproportionately focused on certain areas?

"Yes, we see JavaScript. It's probably number five in some industries like mobile and gaming, but only number seven or so in security, healthcare or finance," said Trikha.

Rust is an up and coming language that some believe may one day displace C++ in many areas where it dominates currently, but so far it hasn't made much of a dent in industry, Trinkha said.

"I looked into Rust, but a lot of companies are invested in legacy systems and it's incredibly difficult to move all that."

HackerRank has also broken down programming languages by industry.

"So in social media is Java and Python, in healthcare it's C# and Java and in security it's C and C++ that are in demand," Trikha said, adding that there are also differences between large and small companies.

"Larger companies look to problem-solving skills not so much the language skills whereas smaller companies need people ready to code on day one."

Other than the example of a small company desperately trying to find a Lua expert, though, it's more about aptitude than language.

"When you know how to program, the language is almost irrelevant," McIvor said. "It's like driving in a way; a Mercedes will handle differently to a banged up old Ford, but the basics are the same and someone who can use one can use the other."

As an experienced programmer your employer should be able to help you get up to speed on the bits of a language you need to know she added.

Recent experience is certainly important. HackerRank's research has found that developers with two or more years' experience who put in about 20 hours of practice had a 50 per cent higher chance of being invited to a job interview following a skills assessments than senior engineers with no practice, while self-taught coders with 50 hours recent practice were on a par with developers with more than two years experience.

Aside from practising on online coding sites like HackerRank, developers should get involved in some open source projects, advised McIvor.

"Experience is something hard to quantify. You have to be a confident programmer, even just knowing what type of thing you are looking for and where to find it is half the battle. There are a load of projects that you can try implementing in different languages to give you experience as well. I don't think there is a minimum amount of experience or a maximum, it's confidence and logic," she said.

"Can you read a problem, work out - usually as a picture - the steps for how to get from A to B, and then can you do it in a reasonable way in your language of choosing? Knowing about things like source control and test driven development is a must these days - all things that you will get some practice with if you get involved with the open source projects."

Once you get to the interview or coding test, you need to display that confidence too.

"Communicate your thought processes as much as possible," said former software engineer at Google, Microsoft and Apple and tech hiring consultant Gayle Laakman McDowell, author of the book Cracking the Coding Interview.

"That's something you can definitely prepare for. Get comfortable talking out loud and exposing your thought processes. Whenever you notice yourself being quiet, take a step back and at least give me a headline of your thought processes."

No one ever got fired for buying IBM, as the saying goes, and by the same token no one will go far wrong learning Python or one of the other ‘big four'.

"There are so many new programming languages coming out but the most in demand are still Java, Python, C and C++. These four fundamental pillars are what make up the majority of businesses' code," said Trikha (pictured).

But what of JavaScript, the language that StackOverflow currently rates the most popular? Could this be because StackOverflow's readers are disproportionately focused on certain areas?

"Yes, we see JavaScript. It's probably number five in some industries like mobile and gaming, but only number seven or so in security, healthcare or finance," said Trikha.

Rust is an up and coming language that some believe may one day displace C++ in many areas where it dominates currently, but so far it hasn't made much of a dent in industry, Trinkha said.

"I looked into Rust, but a lot of companies are invested in legacy systems and it's incredibly difficult to move all that."

HackerRank has also broken down programming languages by industry.

"So in social media is Java and Python, in healthcare it's C# and Java and in security it's C and C++ that are in demand," Trikha said, adding that there are also differences between large and small companies.

"Larger companies look to problem-solving skills not so much the language skills whereas smaller companies need people ready to code on day one."

Other than the example of a small company desperately trying to find a Lua expert, though, it's more about aptitude than language.

"When you know how to program, the language is almost irrelevant," McIvor said. "It's like driving in a way; a Mercedes will handle differently to a banged up old Ford, but the basics are the same and someone who can use one can use the other."

As an experienced programmer your employer should be able to help you get up to speed on the bits of a language you need to know she added.

Recent experience is certainly important. HackerRank's research has found that developers with two or more years' experience who put in about 20 hours of practice had a 50 per cent higher chance of being invited to a job interview following a skills assessments than senior engineers with no practice, while self-taught coders with 50 hours recent practice were on a par with developers with more than two years experience.

Aside from practising on online coding sites like HackerRank, developers should get involved in some open source projects, advised McIvor.

"Experience is something hard to quantify. You have to be a confident programmer, even just knowing what type of thing you are looking for and where to find it is half the battle. There are a load of projects that you can try implementing in different languages to give you experience as well. I don't think there is a minimum amount of experience or a maximum, it's confidence and logic," she said.

"Can you read a problem, work out - usually as a picture - the steps for how to get from A to B, and then can you do it in a reasonable way in your language of choosing? Knowing about things like source control and test driven development is a must these days - all things that you will get some practice with if you get involved with the open source projects."

Once you get to the interview or coding test, you need to display that confidence too.

"Communicate your thought processes as much as possible," said former software engineer at Google, Microsoft and Apple and tech hiring consultant Gayle Laakman McDowell, author of the book Cracking the Coding Interview.

"That's something you can definitely prepare for. Get comfortable talking out loud and exposing your thought processes. Whenever you notice yourself being quiet, take a step back and at least give me a headline of your thought processes."

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st Aug 2017

MIT Technology Review

  • Fennex appFennex is a new app that seeks to give Apple's AirPods a few new hearing powers.Fennex

What if a hearing aid could be replaced with a pair of wireless earbuds and a smartphone app?

A Swiss startup is trying to make this reality with an app called Fennex, recently released for the iPhone, that works with Apple’s $159 AirPods wireless earbuds.

Alex Mari, CEO of the startup of the same name, says that he chose Apple’s devices and mobile platform for the app in part because of their popularity, but also because he thinks an Android phone would result in more latency when processing sound.

The Fennex app, currently free though it may eventually charge for certain features, is still in its earliest days. Mari says today’s version functions like a "cheap hearing aid": it simply tests your hearing in each ear and uses those results to act as a personalized, adjustable amplifier. If you’re having trouble hearing in a class, for instance, you could place your phone near the lectern while you’re sitting a few rows back and listening in on a pair of AirPods.

apple airpods in earHollis Johnson/Business Insider

But upgrades are coming, Mari says: The app is slated to gain features that will help reduce unwanted noise and feedback. And beyond helping people who just want to hear better in some situations, the software could eventually work with with Apple’s hardware to serve as a viable alternative to a regular hearing aid for people who have moderate hearing loss, he believes.

"We want to get as close as we can to hearing aid technology," he says.

Fennex is latching on to a broader trend in using smartphones and earbuds to augment hearing, both for people with hearing loss and for those who simply want to adjust how they hear. Already, there are some similar apps that work with earbuds and smartphones, like Petralex, as well as specialized earbuds that work with their own smartphone apps, like Doppler Labs’ Here One. Unlike hearing aids, which can cost thousands of dollars for a pair, these so-called hearables may cost up to a few hundred dollars on top of the price of a smartphone.

Fennex claims to be the only one designed for the AirPods specifically. And since Apple is clearly moving away from the traditional headphone jack — it cut it out of the iPhones released last year and included just its proprietary Lightning connector for charging — it is possible that in the coming years AirPods will become a lot common.

apple airpods and charging caseHollis Johnson/Business Insider

Larry Humes, a distinguished professor of speech and hearing sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, is optimistic that something like Fennex could take the place of a traditional hearing aid for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. He thinks the recent passage of legislation that orders the FDA to create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids could help, too, as he expects it will lead to a range of hearing-related products that people can get without needing to visit a doctor.

However, as Mari knows, it’s clearly a risk to focus on making software for one pair of earbuds, since Fennex can’t control what Apple does with its hardware or the access it gives to developers who want to develop software that works with it.

There’s also the issue of hearing delays. Fennex works by using the AirPods’ microphones to record sounds in the world around you, after which it sends the audio to the iPhone app for processing and then back to the earbuds. The delay, for now, is 130 milliseconds, which might be fine for listening but is noticeable if you’re trying to engage in a conversation.

Read the original article on MIT Technology Review. Copyright 2017. Follow MIT Technology Review on Twitter.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 21st Aug 2017

Users are told that their non-existent 'iPhoneID' is expiring soon

Scammers target iPhone users to steal Apple ID

Scam disguises SMS message as an iMessage

A new scam is running around the iPhone market, trying to take advantage of the less tech-savvy users out there. Of course, if you're on V3 then that's probably not you - but you should still read this and be aware of the fraud. If nothing else, warn your friends!

In the middle of the week, a Reddit user named Gh0sta made a thread about the attack on the iPhone sub-reddit. It appears that SMS messages are being sent to iPhone users, warning them that their ‘iPhoneID' is about to expire. Of course, there is no such thing as an iPhoneID.

Those users who are fooled click a link in the text message, taking them to a webpage where they are asked to enter their credentials. Seeing as the iPhoneID isn't actually A Thing, users instead enter their Apple ID.

 

Once they have the Apple ID details, the scammers can use them for a variety of nefarious purposes, including making false charges to the account, stealing personal data, or just locking the account and demanding money to open it again.

The (somewhat) clever part of the scam is that the message sender uses SMS spoofingto name themselves ‘iMessage' - even though the message itself is an SMS. Because incoming texts and iMessages both appear in grey, some users could be fooled.

Apple products, especially iPhones, have become a prime target for cyber criminals in the last decade. There are two main reasons behind this: first, the owners tend to be affluent (there are very few budget iPhones out there, unlike other mobile OSes); and second, many users don't have the technical know-how to avoid scams like this. iOS is still perceived as ‘simpler' than its competitors, attracting these users.

Source: v3.co.uk
 
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