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Toshiba packs IR into ultra-thin business laptop

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Toshiba has announced the Tecra X40-D notebook. The laptop is designed to be thin, sturdy and at the same time offers security features like face detection and a fingerprint reader.

A new 14-inch business notebook series from Toshiba, the Tecra X40-D, now available in South Africa, includes an IR camera for secure authentication via face detection. The Tecra X40-D-110 has a RRP starting from R21 999 and the Tecra X40-D-11Q RRP starts from R23 999.

To ensure the safety of mission-critical data, the Tecra X40-D models have a wide range of security features, such as the SecurePad with fingerprint reader or an IR camera for face detection that supports Windows Hello and Intel Authenticate. A key security feature of the Toshiba Business Notebooks is the self-developed BIOS, which help prevent unauthorised access by third parties.

Toshiba provided the following information:

Both premium notebooks are characterized by an extremely slim and light design. The housing height is only 16.9 millimeters and the weight light is 1.25 kilograms. Thanks to the onyx blue chassis with light gold hinges and a hairline finish, the devices also prove to be a real eye-catcher at the customer’s office as well as in the office. The housing of the notebook is made of magnesium. This is why the 14-inch cabinets, particularly in mobile use, impress with their outstanding stability and shock resistance.

The new models have capacitive 14 inch (35.6 cm) full-HD touch displays with in-cell touch technology, which allows a particularly light weight. The difference between the two variants is the processor and the SSD and memory size. The Toshiba Tecra X40-D-10R is equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 512GB SSD and 16GB DDR4 memory. The Toshiba Tecra X40-D-10J benefits from an Intel Core i5-7200U CPU, a 256GB SSD, and an 8GB DDR4 memory. The SSDs are particularly fast PCI Express SSD (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express Solid State Disk) models. The innovative hybrid air cooling technology also ensures very low energy consumption and maximum performance. This allows the user to work for up to 11 hours without having to rely on an external power supply. The new notebooks work with Windows 10 Pro.

Both Toshiba Tecra X40-D models are equipped with many convenient interfaces. This includes two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 enabled connectors, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and a MicroSD slot. They also have an integrated SmartCard Reader. The notebooks can be connected to the Toshiba Thunderbolt 3 Dock for even more ease of use and connectivity.

For professional presentations with integrated videos, Toshiba integrates high-quality Harman/Kardon stereo speakers and DTS Sound software into the new notebooks. They deliver superior sound quality. The backlit keypad allows comfortable typing, even in low light conditions, when the light is dimmed during the presentation.

Platinum Support Service

The services within the Toshiba Platinum Support Service ensure that productivity losses are kept as low as possible. Customers will receive a next day service with the on-site service. A Toshiba-certified hardware specialist is supported by a knowledgeable telephone service, who is already trying to identify and solve the problems. For the comprehensive protection of sensitive data, the hard drive or SSD remains with the customer in the house. The Platinum Support Service is complemented by a personal account manager and an individual support portal for managing the mobile devices. In order to proactively reduce the risk of default, the status of the devices can also be recorded by remote diagnostics. The offer is available to all customers at the locations where the service is offered, regardless of where the notebook was purchased.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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