Over the weekend there was a lot of talk about how Windows in particular is vulnerable to a flaw that is linked to SMB. This flaw could allow someone to grab user information by forcing a redirect to a malicious server using the SMB protocol. The way it works is pretty simple; if you give someone a URL that begins with the work “file” then Windows (and some other systems) will think that you want to use SMB to connect to a file share. If the server that the link (URL) points to uses even basic authentication then you can try and tempt a user to put in their own credentials and grab them during the exchange.
Although you would not think it possible, AMD is still having issues that stem back from their purchase of ATi all those years ago. As most of you are sick of hearing the details of that acquisition and the gradual fall out we will not bore you here. What we will talk about are some of the issues that AMD now faces and what they mean for the consumer and AMD themselves.
If you have been following news about piracy, copyright, or indeed almost anything you will know that the copyright industry often employs some rather shady methods to get their way. One of the shadiest methods is the demand letter. If you are not familiar with this term let us explain (if you are bear with us): a demand letter is when a legal firm tries to tie IP addresses they have identified to actual ISP subscribers. They send large numbers of subpoenas to ISPs asking that they put the two together so that they (the law firm) can then send a settlement letter demanding money from the alleged pirate.
Last week there was an announcement by Global Foundries that they were licensing Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process for their own use. This immediately started the internet going with talk about how AMD would be using this new process despite there not being any indication that AMD was ready for 14nm for APUs, CPUs, or GPUs for that matter. Now, in true internet fashion the rumor mill has shifted from AMD to NVIDIA. The claim is that NVIDIA will soon utilize Samsung’s 14nm FinFET tech too.
So Apple has released review samples to the press in order to build up interest in their entry into the smart watch market. It is an interesting move for Apple as they have sent out their $1,000 product to a select group of reviewers just to see what they think. After reading a number of them (some I could not get all the way through) it seems that Apple might not have the magnificent product they were hoping for and even the most Apple faithful sites had a hard time spinning the deficiencies that are there.
When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.
It is no secret that malware is often spread through sites that offer pirated content. No matter the type of content there is a chance that someone has put up a file that is little more than malware. This type of behavior is common and plays into human nature in many ways. It also replies on the fact that many anti-malware applications already see cracked files and key generators are malware. This makes people ignore warnings from the systems designed to protect them and end up installing more than just the game they wanted to get out of playing.
There is an old saying in business that you have to spend money to make money. The meaning is sort of plain, but we will give you a clear example of what it means. In the tech world, if you are not spending money to improve your products or to build the next generation then you are pretty much going to have a very short life. This is not to say you have to dump huge mounds of cash into research and development, but you do have to spend some on the right things. This means that you can tell a lot about a company’s focus and future outlook by simply looking at their R&D spending.
Over the last year or so the PC Gaming market has seen an interesting re-birth. Although many developers seem to have embraced the new x86 console craze the peripheral manufacturers for the PC did not get the memo. One company that has leapt into the fray is Tesoro, so far they have dropped more than one high-end headset, keyboard and other accessories for the gamer to enhance their experience. Today we have another one of their products in the lab, the Kuven Pro 5.1 gaming headset. Let’s listen in and see how they sound.
The Point of Sale (PoS) station is probably one of the most targeted devices in recent years. There are multiple reasons for this: older operating systems, the need to POS users to have admin rights, generic logons for the “windows” accounts, and more. Most PoS softare is very resistant to attempts to properly secure it including getting all sorts of bent out of shape when you try to apply restrictive security policies to them. I have even seen them stop working because the removable drive mount option is removed from USB ports using a group policy object.