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Cisco finds Avast app breach

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Cisco’s cybersecurity research team, Cisco Talos,  is alerting consumers and businesses to a major cybersecurity incident that could affect millions of users worldwide

Attackers hijacked and hid malware inside Avast’s CCleaner application which was available for download between August 15 snd September 12, 2017. Anyone who downloaded the 5.33 version product or updated their existing product during this timeframe became infected.

On September 13, 2017, Cisco Talos notified Avast so that they could begin corrective action. At this time the version containing the malware has been removed and is no longer available for download. However, many consumers remain at risk – and will remain at risk even after updating their CCleaner software.

Billing itself the “world’s most popular PC cleaner and optimization tool,” Avast’s CCleaner is trusted by consumers to speed up PC and smartphone performance by removing unneeded/necessary files. As recently as November 2016, CCleaner boasted 2 billion downloads with a growth rate of 5 million users per week.

Once the malware was installed, attackers could potentially gain access to the user’s computer and other connected systems to steal sensitive personal data and/or credentials that could be used for online banking or other online activities.

Like the Nyetya malware in late June, in this instance attackers hacked into a legitimate, trusted application and turned it malicious. These types of attacks are often successful because consumers trust that these well-known and broadly-used applications are safe. Criminals are exploiting that trust.

WHAT TO DO

Because the malware remains present, even after users update the CCleaner software, Talos advises all users to wipe their entire computer — remove and reinstall everything on the machine — and to restore files and data from a pre- August 15, 2017 backup, before the current version would have been installed.

It is critical to remove this version of the CCleaner software and associated malware, since it’s structure means it has the ability to hide on the user’s system and call out to check for new malware updates for up to a year.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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