Archive for March 28th, 2017

CyberSecurity – Pew Research Center 10 question quiz

The Pew Research Center has a 10 question quiz that users can quickly take to test basic knowledge. Only 1% of users get all 10 questions correct, as there are few tricky ones where is a “most correct” answer.

TAKE 10 QUESTION QUIZ in link below (takes about 2 minutes)

Evaluation of the test results reveal more education is needed.

A new study from Pew Research Center finds that even amid high profile hacks on businesses and institutions that affect millions, many Americans don’t have a comprehensive understanding about what precautions need to be taken to prevent cybersecurity breaches. And perhaps it is unsurprising, but Pew says that “those with higher levels of education and younger internet users are more likely to answer cybersecurity questions correctly.”

Google Home – 12 vendors added for new smart home capabilities

Google Home is adding 12 new smart home vendors, which will be compatible with it’s smart “voice activated” speaker system.  This is documented as follows:

Starting today, Google’s smart speaker can control a variety of new devices, including locks and sprinklers. With a dozen new companies announcing integrations with its platform, the search giant has dramatically increased what its smart speaker can do.  You’ll be able to give a voice command to the Google Assistant built into the Google Home smart speaker and control devices from these 12 companies.

This announcement doesn’t quite even the playing field with Amazon, since Amazon’s assistant Alexa now has more than 10,000 “skills” — essentially third-party apps for voice control. Still, it’s a big push in the right direction that includes many popular smart home products.

It also expands Google Home’s abilities into new territory. Previously, the Google Assistant only worked with lights, plugs, switches, thermostats and recently robot vacuums. Today’s announcement includes locks, sprinklers, an air conditioner, a sous vide cooker and even a professionally installed smart home system.

Phone Security – One Ring Scam entices users to call back

A new phone scam is circulating where robo-caller software randomly constructs telephone numbers and generates a single ring with an immediate hang-up.  Some users may see this as a missed call or may be curious who has called them from the unusual number.  However, users who call back will have premium charges added to their bill as described below.  The Better Business Bureau and other authorities are warning to avoid this new threat.

If missed a phone call from an unrecognized number on your cell, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning that might want to do your research before you call it back. The “One Ring Phone Scam” is on the rise, and falling for it is as easy as it is costly.

In the scam, bad guys have a computer autodial thousands of phone numbers at once. Calls disconnect after a single ring to make sure you don’t answer it in time, generating a missed call notification instead.  Attempt to call the number back and you’ll be connected to a premium phone service located outside of the United States. It’s a pricey mistake: Callers can be sacked with a hefty upfront $19.95 international call fee and per-minute charges of $9 or more.

Specifically, the BBB is warning that scammers are using the area codes 268 (Antigua or Barbuda), 809 (Dominican Republic), 876 (Jamaica), 284 (British Virgin Islands) and 473 (Grenada).

How can you stay safe? The BBB explains that “if you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Also you should check your cell phone bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any unauthorized charges. The earlier you document the fraud, the better your chances of having some or all of the charges removed.” You might also want to block specific phone numbers should you be targeted.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – MARCH 29 2017 launch

The Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone will have a much improved battery design to promote safety, plus a few expected new, as this preview by The Verge documents below.  There may be a few surprises, given the innovation by Samsung as leading mobile phone manufacturer in world:

The Samsung Galaxy S8 launches on Wednesday will carry greater expectations and have to prove a lot more than usual. Here’s a rundown of the biggest challenges facing Samsung as it prepares to take the wraps off the Galaxy S8.

The battery — The smaller S8 is set to have a 5.8-inch display paired with a 3,000mAh battery. Samsung got itself in trouble by trying to force the biggest possible battery inside the Note 7, but will it fall behind in the endurance stakes with the more conservative combination it has in its latest phones?

Home button demise and the screen’s elongation — Every leaked image of the Galaxy S8 shows it dumping Samsung’s signature home button in favor of an entirely software-based interface and the smallest screen bezels in Samsung’s history. What’s lost with that physical home button is not only a familiar and tactile method for returning to the starting screen

Camera — Over the course of multiple generations, Samsung separated itself from the rest of the Android competitive field, outdoing rivals like HTC, LG, and Sony with the best optics and image processing available outside the iOS stable. Both the Galaxy S6 and S7 could make legitimate claims to being even better than the corresponding iPhone of their time.

Voice Assistant and DEX Desktop — Beyond the three crucial hardware components of the battery, display, and camera, Samsung will also try to establish unique selling points for the Galaxy S8 with its new Bixby voice assistant and anticipated DeX desktop functionality.