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Darwin flaw found in iOS

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Kaspersky Lab has discovered a vulnerability in the Darwin kernel of the Apple operating system that if exploited, leaves OS X and iOS 8 devices exposed to the remote activation of denial of service attacks on the devices.

Kaspersky Lab security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the kernel of Darwin – an open-source component of both the OS X and iOS operating systems. This “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability leaves OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 devices exposed to remotely-activated denial of service (DoS) attacks that can damage the user’s device and impact any corporate network to which it is connected. The experts call on users to update devices with the OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 software releases, which no longer include this vulnerability.

Analysis of the vulnerability by Kaspersky Lab revealed that the devices affected by the threat include those with 64-bit processors and iOS 8: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3.

The “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability is exploited while processing an IP packet of specific size and with invalid IP options. Remote attackers can initiate a DoS (denial of service) attack on a device with OS X 10.10 or iOS 8, sending an incorrect network packet to the target.  After processing the invalid network packet, the system will crash. Kaspersky Lab’s researchers discovered that the system will crash only if the IP packet meets the following conditions:

–          The size of the IP header should be 60 bytes.

–          The size of the IP payload should be less than or equal to 65 bytes.

–          The IP options should be incorrect (invalid option size, class, etc.)

“At first sight, it is very hard to exploit this bug, as the conditions attackers need to meet are not trivial ones. However persistent cybercriminals can do so, breaking down devices or even affecting the activity of corporate networks. Routers and firewalls would usually drop incorrect packets with invalid option sizes, but we discovered several combinations of incorrect IP options that are able to pass through the Internet routers. We’d like to encourage all OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 users to update devices to OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 releases,” – says Anton Ivanov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab’s products protect OS X against the “Darwin Nuke” vulnerability with the Network Attack Blocker feature. Starting with Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac 15.0, this threat is detected as DoS.OSX.Yosemite.ICMP.Error.exploit.

Kaspersky Lab’s tips for boosting the security of Mac devices include:

1.      Use a web browser that has a solid track record of fixing security issues promptly.

2.      Run “Software Update” and patch the machine promptly when updates are available.

3.      Use a password manager to help cope with phishing attacks.

4.      Install a good security solution.

Tips to make your iPhone secure can be found at: http://blog.kaspersky.com/iphone-maximum-security-tips/.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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