Archive for March 30th, 2017

Internet Privacy – HTTPS encryption may not fully hide site visitation history

The Atlantic shares an excellent security awareness article — that even encryption may have certain limitations in fully providing privacy as noted below:

Encryption is on the rise online. Data from Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, shows that more than half of web pages use HTTPS, the standard way of encrypting web traffic. When sites like The Atlantic use HTTPS, a lock icon appears in users’ web browsers, indicating that the information being sent to and from servers is scrambled and can’t be read by a third party that intercepts it—that includes ISPs.

But even if 100 percent of the web were encrypted, ISPs would still be able to extract a surprising amount of detailed information about their customers’ virtual comings and goings. This is particularly significant in light of a bill that passed Congress this week, which granted the lobby group’s wish: It allows ISPs to sell their customers’ private browsing history without their consent.

Although the exact URL of a page accessed through HTTPS is hidden to the provider, the provider can still see the domain the URL is on: For example, your ISP can’t tell what exactly story you’re reading right now, but it can tell that you’re somewhere on That may not reveal much other than your (excellent) taste in news sources.

Ransomware – New Cerber variants disable Windows Defender Firewall rules

A fellow MVP and cybersecurity expert shares awareness that latest Cerber Ransomware variants have code in them to disable Windows Defender Firewall rules:

For the last 10 days or so we have noticed Cerber ransomware disabling Windows Defender by using firewall rules to prevent Windows Defender accessing the internet.  This shows a change in behaviour using firewall blocks to disable windows defender. This will be primarily aimed at Windows 10 users. Windows Defender is the inbuilt “free” antivirus in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Computer Security – Information Assurance Analyst job role

Corporations are using the “Information Assurance Analyst” position to firm up risk management and response needs for critical applications as documented in this informative CSO article:

The demand for information assurance analysts is fairly high right now “because C-level executives are concerned about the quality of the information that’s being transmitted and the extent of how much information is being made public.   The information assurance analyst is a bridge between other security staff and users.

In general, an information assurance analyst conducts ongoing vulnerability management activities to assess potential treats, coordinates and leads technology staff in identifying and remediating system vulnerabilities, and works with IT to ensure appropriate procedures and processes are in place for detecting and preventing system intrusions, according to the Janco job description report

The position also requires above-average communication and critical-thinking skills,  “They have to understand the why behind what they’re doing,” he says. “You may also have to wake up someone at 3 a.m. or deliver bad news to management, so those critical thinking and communication skills become especially important.”

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Product Announcement of new features

BGR has an informative write-up listing many of the new state-of-art features for the  Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ as follows:

It’s funny how you can know just about everything there is to know about a new flagship smartphone thanks to rumors and leaks, and yet still be blown away when the phone is finally announced. Once people actually saw the full Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ picture come together on stage yesterday, however, they knew they were watching something special.

1. Design — We can already state conclusively that these new flagship smartphones are the sleekest, most elegant, best-designed handsets the world has ever known. Just a few short years ago, Samsung was still releasing flagship phones made out of thin plastic that felt flimsy and cheap. Fast-forward to 2017 and the company’s new Galaxy S8 and S8+ are unmatched. Apple’s iPhones have always been considered the gold standard of design — they are the most copied handsets on the market, after all — but Samsung has bested Apple in every way.

2. State of Art Screen — First and foremost, Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have narrow bezels and a screen-to-body ratio of 83%. As a result, Samsung has fit a monstrous 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display into a phone the same size as Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. Then you’ve got the rounded edges on the front and back of the phones, which makes them fit perfectly in the hand. It also makes Samsung’s new phones feel incredibly thin despite actually being a tiny bit thicker than Apple’s iPhones.

3. Bixby — The second most talked-about Galaxy S8 feature has to be Bixby. This is Samsung’s attempt to combat the rise of digital assistant products like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and the one that started it all, Apple’s Siri. This is one of the hottest spaces in consumer tech right now, so it’s no mystery why Samsung would want in on the action.

4. Bixby Vision — Bixby Vision is an extension of Bixby that brings the physical world around you into the picture. Literally. Using the camera on the Galaxy S8 or S8+, Bixby Vision allows the phones to “look” at their surroundings and offer useful information to users. Bixby Vision can also “see” printed text and instantly translate more than 50 different languages.

5. Samsung DeX — Samsung isn’t the first company to bake a desktop experience into a smartphone, but it is the first company to bake a desktop experience into a smartphone that people actually want.  Samsung’s implementation with DeX is shockingly fast.

6. State-of-Art CPU Processors — The processors are more important than normal because these are the first new smartphones to sport next-generation 10nm chipsets.The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and Samsung Exynos 8895 use a process that is more compact than any other mass-market processors. They’re also more energy-efficient and more powerful than any other processors on the market. In terms of multi-core performance, they absolutely crush everything else on the market and people are excited to check them out.

7. Bluetooth 5.0 support — Galaxy S8 will be the first widely available smartphone with Bluetooth 5.0. This next-generation wireless technology is better than current versions of Bluetooth in literally every way. It’s more power efficient, it has four times the range, and it supports two simultaneous independent streams.

8. Gigabit LTE capabilites — Galaxy S8 will be the first phone to support gigabit LTE speeds. That’s right, 1Gbps data transfers on your phone. Google luck holding onto your tiered data plans in the future