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Mac catches up in malware

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Recent Kaspersky Lab research has revealed that Mac users are now just as vulnerable as users of any other operating system.

According to global research conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, users of Apple computers encounter cyber threats just as often as the users of other platforms. They may even face more examples of some types of threat. Although it is true that security experts have not, thus far, found as much harmful software for OS X as they have for other platforms, this does not mean that Mac devices and the data stored on them are somehow immune to risks.

The survey results showed that 24% of Apple desktop users and 10% of Apple laptop users encountered malware during the year. The number of affected PC owners is slightly higher at 32%. However, malware such as ransomware was faced by 13% of Mac owners compared with 9% of Windows users. There is a similar situation with threats targeting financial data: these incidents were reported by 51% of OS X users and 43% of Windows users.

According to the survey, Mac users are generally less aware of Internet threats than Windows users. For example, 39% of MacBook owners have never or hardly heard of ransomware, and 30% do not know about dangerous malicious programmes that can exploit vulnerabilities in software. By comparison, among all respondents 33% know almost nothing about ransomware and 28% are unaware of exploits.

The survey shows that half of Mac users still neglect the need for Internet security solutions on their devices: only 47% of MacBook and 59% of Apple desktop computers are protected. Moreover, when Apple users do choose a security solution for their devices more of them (41%) make price their top priority, compared with 36% who consider the quality of malware detection. In third place is the impact the solution has on the performance of the device (33%). As a comparison, Windows users put malware detection efficiency in first place (47%), the cost of the solution in second place (42%), and the ability of the solution to combat web threats comes third (31%).

OS X users have long lived in isolation from the dangers of the Internet so they may feel almost invulnerable, but as cyber threats today are expanding their areas of operation ever more widely, it is important to be prepared for them. In this regard, Kaspersky Lab strongly recommends Mac users not only to install security solutions but remember the rules of safe behaviour  on the Web”, said Vladimir Zapolyansky, Vice-President, Product and Technology Marketing, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab’s flagship solution for home users – Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device 2015, is designed to safeguard the users of different operating systems – including OS X – against cyber threats. They provide a reliable defense against malware, including ransomware, and protect against financial risks by using the integrated Safe Money technology.

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ConceptD: Creatives get a tech brand of their own

The unveiling of a new brand by Acer recognises the massive computing power needed in creative professions, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It’s a crisp Spring morning in Brooklyn. The regular water taxi from Manhattan pulls up at Duggal Greenhouse on the edge of the East River. It’s a building that symbolises the rejuvenation of Brooklyn as a hub of artistic and creative expression.

Inside the vast structure, global computer brand Acer is about to unveil its own tribute to creativity. Company CEO Jason Chen takes to the stage in faded blue jeans and brown t-shirt, underlining the connection of the event to the informality of the area.

“Brooklyn is become more and more diverse,” he tells a gathering of press from around the world, attending the Next@Acer media event. “It’s an area that is up and coming. It represents new lifestyles. And our theme today is turning a new chapter for creativity.”

Every year, Next@Acer is a parade of the cutting edge in gaming and educational laptops and computers. New devices from sub-brands like Predator, Helios and Nitro have gamers salivating. This year is no different, but there is a surprise in store, hinted in Chen’s introduction.

As a grand finale, he calls on stage Angelica Davila, whose day job is senior marketing manager for Acer Latin America. But she also happens to have a Masters degree in computer and electric engineering. A stint at Intel, where she joined a sales and marketing programme for engineers, set her on a new path.

Angelica Davila, marketing manager for Acer Latin America

For the last few months, she has been helping write Acer’s next chapter. She has shepherded into being nothing less than a new brand: ConceptD.

Click here to read more about ConceptD.

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Which voice assistant wins battle of translators?

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Take the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.

OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  (See chart). All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.

OHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard. 

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