By Associated Press | Updated: 9 December 2020
Researchers at a cybersecurity firm say they have identified vulnerabilities in software widely used by millions of connected devices — flaws that could be exploited by hackers to penetrate business and home computer networks and disrupt them.
There is no evidence of any intrusions that made use of these vulnerabilities. But their existence in data-communications software central to Internet-connected devices prompted the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to flag the issue in an advisory.
Potentially affected devices from an estimated 150 manufacturers range from networked thermometers to “smart” plugs and printers to office routers and healthcare appliances to components of industrial control systems, the cybersecurity firm Forescout Technologies said in a report released Tuesday. Most affected are consumer devices including remote-controlled temperature sensors and cameras, it said.
In the worst case, control systems that drive “critical services to society” such as water, power and automated building management could be crippled, said Awais Rashid, a computer scientist at Bristol University in Britain who reviewed the Forescout findings.
In its advisory, CISA recommended defensive measures to minimise the risk of hacking. In particular, it said industrial control systems should not be accessible from the internet and should be isolated from corporate networks.
The discovery highlights the dangers that cybersecurity experts often find in Internet-linked appliances designed without much attention to security. Sloppy programming by developers is the main issue in this case, Rashid said.
Addressing the problems, estimated to afflict millions of devices, is particularly complicated because they reside in so-called open-source software, code freely distributed for use and further modification. In this case, the issue involves fundamental internet software that manages communications via a technology called TCP/IP.
Fixing the vulnerabilities in impacted devices is particularly complicated because open-source software isn’t owned by anyone, said Elisa Costante, Forescout’s vice president of research. Such code is often maintained by volunteers. Some of the vulnerable TCP/IP code is two decades old; some of it is no longer supported, Costante added.
It is up to the device manufacturers themselves to patch the flaws and some may not bother given the time and expense required, she said. Some of the compromised code is embedded in a component from a supplier — and if no one documented that, no one may even know it’s there.
“The biggest challenge comes in finding out what you’ve got,” Rashid said.
If unfixed, the vulnerabilities could leave corporate networks open to crippling denial-of-service attacks, ransomware delivery or malware that hijacks devices and enlists them in zombie botnets, the researchers said. With so many people working from home during the pandemic, home networks could be compromised and used as channels into corporate networks through remote-access connections.
Forescout notified as many vendors as it could about the vulnerabilities, which it dubbed AMNESIA:33. But it was impossible to identify all affected devices, Costante said. The company also alerted U.S., German and Japanese computer security authorities, she said.
The company discovered the vulnerabilities in what it called the largest study ever on the security of TCP/IP software, a year-long effort it called Project Memoria.
Samsung SmartThings Brings Support for Google Nest Devices for the First Time
By ANI | Updated: 9 December 2020
Tech giant Google and Samsung are bringing their smart home platforms together for the first time. Samsung’s SmartThings will support Google Nest devices starting in January 2021.
According to The Verge, this will build a bridge between one of the industry’s leading ecosystems for managing smart devices like cameras and thermostats with one of the leading companies developing those products.
Prior to this, owners of devices that qualified for the Works With SmartThings (WWST) certification had to use separate software to manage any Google Nest products they owned. Following the launch of the integration next month, all Nest products will be controllable from the SmartThings platform and will qualify as WWST devices.
As per The Verge, the partnership further boosts Samsung’s smart home platform, which is one of the leading hub makers for managing smart home devices on the same network. Samsung purchased SmartThings in 2014 for $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,500 crores) due to the company’s proficiency at helping smart home products communicate across various protocol standards.
Samsung says its new Google partnership means Nest devices can be incorporated into SmartThings Scenes for setting up automated controls for multiple devices at the same time, and the integration will also mean Samsung TVs and its Family Hub fridge will support streaming from Nest cameras and other devices.
Tired of Zoom Calls? Company Offers At-Home Hologram Machines
By Reuters | Updated: 9 August 2020
Looking for a new way to communicate during the pandemic? A Los Angeles company has created phone booth-sized machines to beam live holograms into your living room.
The device made by PORTL lets users talk in real time with a life-sized hologram of another person.
The machines also can be equipped with technology to enable interaction with recorded holograms of historical figures or relatives who have passed away.
Each PORTL device is seven feet (2.1m) tall, five feet (1.5m) wide and two feet (0.6m) deep, and can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Anyone with a camera and a white background can send a hologram to the machine in what Chief Executive David Nussbaum calls “holoportation.”
“We say if you can’t be there, you can beam there,” said Nussbaum, who previously worked at a company that developed a hologram of Ronald Reagan for the former president’s library and digitally resurrected rapper Tupac Shakur.
“We are able to connect military families that haven’t seen each other in months, people from opposite coasts,” or anyone who is social distancing to fight the coronavirus, Nussbaum added.
Prices for the machine start at $60,000 (roughly Rs. 45 lakhs), a cost that Nussbaum expects will drop over the next three to five years. The company also plans a smaller tabletop device with a lower price tag early next year.
The devices can be equipped with artificial intelligence technology from Los Angeles-based company StoryFile to produce hologram recordings that can be archived. Adding that to the current device brings the cost to at least $85,000.
The companies are promoting to museums, which could let visitors question a hologram of a historical figure, and to families to record information for future generations.
People can feel like they are having a conversation with a recorded hologram, said StoryFile Chief Executive Heather Smith.
“(You) feel their presence, see their body language, see all their non-verbal cues,” she said. “You feel like you’ve actually talked to that individual even though they were not there.”
© Thomson Reuters 2020
Spotify Now Available on Alexa-Enabled Devices in India, Starting With Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo and all the other Alexa-enabled devices are finally getting the Spotify support. On 26 July Friday Spotify announced that each its Premium and free tier subscribers can now use the music streaming service with Alexa on Amazon Echo gadgets in India. The Swedish firm additionally detailed a number of Alexa voice instructions that its customers can utilise, from taking part in playlists to podcasts. The Spotify support will be gradually rolled out for other-Alexa enabled devices but for now, it is only available for Amazon Echo users, Spotify says it will soon be available on other Alexa-enabled devices, including Fire TV models and mobile devices.
As of now, Amazon Echo users can access music from various audio platforms including Apple Music, JioSaavn, Hungama Music, and other third-party apps. With Spotify adding to the list, the users will get a plethora of options to choose from. Spotify in a statement revealed that the new feature will be available to the premium and free-tier Spotify users in India.
So here’s how you access your amazing playlist on Spotify from Amazon devices. Spotify gives you access to over 50 million songs so before everything, it is important for you to download the app first. Post downloading the app, go to the Alexa app, and visit Settings > Music > Link New Service and then select Spotify. Users will then have to key in their Spotify username and password. If users would like to make Spotify their default music service on the Amazon Echo device, they can also enable Default Services.
Once the consumer has linked their Spotify account with Alexa, they will use the Spotify app to play content material on their Alexa gadgets by saying “Alexa, Spotify connect”, thereby making the Alexa system discoverable within the music streaming app. Alternatively, customers can search for Devices Available on the now taking part in the display screen of the Spotify app, after which choose the Echo system they need to hear on.
Spotify had initially added help for Amazon Echo gadgets again in 2016, however just for premium subscribers and in choose markets. The streaming service’s free tier customers additionally received entry to Alexa-enabled gadgets in November 2019, however the identical was restricted to pick out markets. Spotify can be already accessible on Fire TV Stick dongles.
Spotify is one of the most preferred apps because it gives you an option to personalize your music experience. So when you sign up through the Alexa app, Spotify will ask you about your favourite artist, and provide curated playlists that match your musical taste and personalized playlists like Daily Mix. The playlists are available on Alexa and they are updated based on your listening activity. To listen to your playlist just give a command saying, “Alexa, play my Daily Mix 1 on Spotify”. You can also create your personal playlist on the Spotify app for example ‘Bollywood Dhamaka’ and ask Alexa, to play it.
As talked about, Spotify detailed a bunch of voice instructions customers can utilise to regulate the music streaming service on an Amazon Echo system. These are:
- “Alexa, play my Daily Mix 1 on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Bollywood Acoustic on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Chai & Classics on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play my <name> playlist from Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Street Dancer 3D songs on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Kabir Singh songs on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Malang on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Dance Monkey on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play Badshah songs on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play A R Rahman Radio on Spotify”
- “Alexa, play chill tracks on Spotify”
- “Alexa, set alarm for 6 AM with meditation music on Spotify”
- “Alexa, Spotify Connect on Kitchen Echo”
- “Alexa, Spotify connect” after which choose the Podcast on the Spotify app. It will play on the linked Echo system.
Google Home Speaker Codenamed ‘Prince’ in the Works: Report
Google is reportedly working to launch a new smart speaker pretty soon. The upcoming smart speaker key detail has been revealed with a new leak.
As per a report by 9to5Google, the upcoming Google Home speaker will be codenamed as ‘Prince’ may release towards the end of 2020. As per the report, the upcoming smart speaker will join other Nest-branded smart speakers by Google will sit between the Google Home and Google Home Max and come with a fabric-based design. , which is similarly found in other Google smart speakers.
It is further speculated that the next-generation Google Home speaker will feature a larger audio driver – and of course, support for Google Assistant. The company is yet to announce its development.
Google is expected to release a host of new products such as Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, a new Chromecast codenamed Sabrina and Google Pixel Buds this year. The company launched Google Home Mini and Home Max in 2017, expanding its Google Home portfolio. Over the years, the company has also introduced a smart speaker with a touchscreen, namely, Google Nest Hub.
The report highlights that the company will add a large audio driver, meaning that the sound capabilities will be better than Google Home. The report did not mention any unique features for the upcoming smart speaker, but it will be built on the existing functionality. The smart speaker might come with stereo speaker pairing, a feature which is present in Google Home Max. The report highlights that the new product will be launched until the fall. As for the pricing, the upcoming smart speaker will be priced higher than the Google Home, but it will be lower than the Home Max.
As mentioned, Google is yet to announce the development of its new Nest-branded products and more information from the company is expected in the coming weeks.
Previously, the company introduced Nest Mini speaker in India for Rs 4,499. The company claims that Nest Mini comes with better sound output as compared to its predecessor, the Google Home Mini. It also comes with faster performance, all thanks to a dedicated machine learning chip in the device. The Nest Mini supports a host of streaming services including YouTube Music, Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn and Wynk Music.
Currently, the Google Home price in India is set at Rs. 7,999 while the Google Home Max in the US costs $249 (roughly Rs. 18,900).
Forthcoming Google-made Android TV dongle & new UI leak in render
At the start of last month, we exclusively reported on Google’s plans for a new Chromecast Ultra based on Android TV. Subsequent reports described a content-focused revamp of the operating system, with new leaks today showing off the next Chromecast, its remote, and “Google TV’s” new look.
Marketing material acquired by XDA today shows a pebble-shaped puck that is slightly taller than the current Chromecast. A ‘G’ logo is embedded with three colors (black, white, and pink/sand) shown. The flat HDMI cable is also seen — though the connector is not — and similarly hued.
As we previously described, we see a “Remote Control” that’s very similar to the Daydream View’s. Up top is a circular D-pad, while six circular buttons are below. From today’s leak, we see a back, Assistant, home, star/favorite, play/pause, and volume mute.
Next up is a leak of the content-focused Android TV revamp, which we hear might be rebranded to Google TV when the Chromecast launches. The homescreen starts with a top bar where search is the top-left corner. This is followed by For you, Movies, TV, Live — more about what’s new here, Apps, and My Library. It’s rather similar to the current layout of the Play Store on Android TV.
Front and center is a cover image advertising Game of Thrones from HBO Now and other shows, while there’s a “Play next” carousel below. Another capability touted is the ability to “manage your home from your couch” with a “Noise detected” notification appearing in the bottom-left.
These graphics originate from a video that will play during the set-up process, while firmware that XDA also acquired suggests an Amlogic chip that supports Dolby Vision. Codenamed “sabrina,” the retail name for this device has yet to leak, thought Nest branding was suggested by Protocol last month.
Nokia Smart TV 43-inch India launch confirmed for June 4; expected price under Rs 34,000: Report
Nokia is all set to launch its Smart TV with a 43-inch screen in India on June 4, said HMD Global has revealed, a report by Gadgets 360. The Nokia website had been teasing the arrival of the 43-inch Smart TV since March. The launch could have been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown. The 43-inch model will feature alongside the Nokia Smart TV 55-inch model which arrived in India back in December.
Nokia TV 43-inch price in India (expected)
The company has confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch model will launch on June 4. The new smart TV will be positioned at a price point ranging between Rs. 31,000 to Rs. 34,000 in India and the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch variant will go on sale exclusively via Flipkart. Exact pricing details and offers would be announced closer to launch. Key features on the Nokia Smart TV include JBL Audio and Dolby Vision support.
Nokia TV 43-inch features, specifications (expected)
The Nokia Smart TV 43-inch will run on Android 9.0 operating system, and it should most likely offer the same experience as the 55-inch variant. Design-wise, the Nokia Smart TV 43-inch model looks identical to the 55-inch model with slim bezels and the same V-shaped stand aesthetic. The 43-inch model should have the same specifications as the 55-inch model. The larger variant is priced at Rs. 41,999, and it also runs on Android 9 Pie. The 4K Smart TV pack quad-core processor, Mali-450 MP GPU, 2.25GB of RAM, and 16GB storage. There are two 12W speakers onboard with Dolby Audio and DTS TruSurround.
The 55-inch Nokia Smart TV has support for apps like Netflix, YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, and Prime Video, and the 43-inch model will likely support them as well. It is also expected to offer Chromecast built0in and support for Bluetooth v5.0.
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