Malware stored in synthetic DNA can take over PC: Study

Discovery of a new hacking method reverberates as DNA data storage becomes more widespread

University of Washington researchers figured out a way to use biology to infect computers with malicious code.

In their experiments, the researchers stored malware in synthetic DNA and demonstrated how that code can compromise a computer analyzing the DNA after it has been run through a gene-sequencing machine.

The danger of such an attack is still years away, the researchers said, adding they haven’t seen evidence of hackers attempting this sort of breach. The experiments highlight a new type of threat that could allow sophisticated coders to gain control of computer systems if precautions aren’t taken.

“This is something [the genomics industry] and the U.S. government should be concerned about,” said Tadayoshi Kohno, a computer-science professor at the university and a member of the research team.

The team will present the results of its experiments, conducted in late 2016 and 2017, at a security symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Aug. 17.

The hack makes use of technology in which digital bits of data are converted into synthetic DNA. Researchers believe DNA data storage could prove far more durable than stashing information on hard disks and flash drives, which last just a few years and can crash without warning. The nascent technology converts the 1s and 0s of computing’s binary code into A, C, G and T, the letters that correspond to DNA base types, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. Read more

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review: Great battery life, multimedia features justify price tag

This Rs 16,999 device has a bit of many things, but it may not be perfect for multi-taskers

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi recently launched the Mi Max 2, the second iteration of its Xiaomi Mi Max 2 , in India at Rs 16,999. A large-screen device with a focus on multimedia capabilities, this smartphone has updated specifications, features and design which make the Mi Max 2 a solid performer in its segment.

Business Standard used this device to see how it fares on key performance metrics. Here are our observations on the Mi Max 2:

Design

The Mi Max 2 features a metallic build with round edges and curved sides. It has a 6.44-inch full-HD 1920 x 1080 screen, protected with 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3. The curved glass adds to the aesthetics and feels more premium than flat glass. With screen turned off, the smartphone wears a bezel-less look, but huge bezels become visible around the display when you turn the screen on.

Capacitive navigation keys are placed on the bottom bezels at the front which makes it handy to use for full-screen content. Also, it seems a much better idea than on-screen navigation buttons killing the overall screen resolution.

At its back, the smartphone has a fingerprint sensor at the centre-top. The placement of the sensor, however, is not great; it is difficult to reach during single-hand use. The rear camera placed on the top-left is assisted by a dual-tone LED flash. The placement of the camera is also somewhat inappropriate as it comes behind the index finger most of the times when you hold the phone horizontally. Read more

OnePlus 5 to be launched in India at Rs 32,999; here is what the device looks like

The much-awaited smartphone is expected to initially have two variants — 64GB/6GB and 128GB/8GB

Company News :Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus is gearing up for the launch of its much-awaited flagship OnePlus 5 on June 22. And, according to latest reports, the smartphone is initially going to be available in two variants and a price tag of Rs 32,999 for the base model.

True-tech.net report mentioned the price quoting “reliable sources” and said OnePlus 5 would be launched with two storage and RAM variants – 64GB/6GB and 128GB/8GB. According to the report, the base model, with 64 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM, might be priced at Rs 32,999, while the premium version with 128 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM could retail at Rs 37,999.

Recently, a teaser image posted on microblogging site Twitter by OnePlus showed that the OnePlus 5 smartphone would have dual rear cameras placed horizontal at the top left of the device. It also revealed that the upcoming smartphone might offer black as a colour option.

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Of late, OnePlus has been teasing the upcoming flagship through subtle tweets and images on other social media channels. Not much information has been divulged yet about the device, except CEO Pete Lau confirming that the phone would use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium with 4K screen launched in India at Rs 59,990

On pre-booking from June 2 to June 11, you get Rs 8,990 SRS-XB20 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for free

Sony India has launched in the country its flagship smartphone, the Xperia XZ Premium, at Rs 59,990. The smartphone, the first to feature a whopping 4K display and a powerful 19-megapixel camera capable of recording incredible slow motion videos, had been unveiled during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017.

In terms of specifications, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium offers top of the line innards. The smartphone sports a 5.5-inch high dynamic range (HDR)-ready display, with 4K (2160 x 3840) resolution and covered with Gorilla Glass 5 for protection from scratches and accidental drops. Powering the device is Qualcomm latest Snapdragon 835 processor that features Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which supports a speed of up to 1 Gbps, and Adreno 540 graphic processing unit (GPU) for smoother graphics.

Also Read : Micromax launches VoLTE-ready Yu Yureka Black with 4 GB RAM for Rs 8,999

The major attraction of the device is its 19-megapixel rear camera, capable of recording slow-motion video in 960 frames per second (FPS). There are multitudes of extra camera features for photography enthusiasts and professionals which make the Xperia XZ Premium a heavy-weight in its league.

The Xperia XZ Premium boots Android Nougat v7.1 out of the box and features 4 GB of RAM, besides 64 GB of built-in storage expandable via microSD card. The phone is fitted with a 3,230 mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 3.0 and an adaptive charging layer on top for quicker battery refill. The Xperia XZ Premium is IP65/68-certified, so it can withstand water and dust abuse with ease.

Pre-booking of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium will open from June 2 and go on till June 11. Sony is offering a SRS-XB20 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, worth Rs 8,990, for those pre-booking the smartphone during the offer period. The smartphone will go on sale at all Sony Center, select retail outlets and Online exclusively on Amazon.com.

IT job cuts: Up to 600,000 engineers likely to be laid off in next 3 years

McKinsey & Company report says half of IT workforce will be irrelevant over the next 3-4 years

Executive search firm Head Hunters India said the job cuts in IT sector will be between 1.75 lakh and 2 lakh annually for next three years due to under-preparedness in adapting to newer technologies.

“Contrary to media reports of 56,000 IT professionals to lose jobs this year, the actual job cuts will be between 1.75 lakh and 2 lakh per year in next three years, due to under- preparedness in adapting to newer technologies,” Head Hunters India Founder-Chairman and MD K Lakshmikanth told PTI, analysing a report submitted by McKinsey & Company at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum on February 17.

McKinsey & Company report had said nearly half of the workforce in the IT services firms will be “irrelevant” over the next 3-4 years.

Also Read :

McKinsey India Managing Director Noshir Kaka had also said the bigger challenge ahead for the industry will be to retrain 50-60 per cent of the workforce as there will be a significant shift in technologies. The industry employs 3.9 million people and the majority of them have to be retrained.

“So, when we analyse these figures, it is clear that 30 to 40 per cent of the workforce cannot be retrained or re- skilled. So, assume that half of this workforce can continue to work on old skills, then balance will become redundant.

“So, the number of people who will become redundant in the next three years will be about five to six lakhs. This will workout to, on a average, between 1.75 lakh to 2 lakh per year for next three years,” Lakshmikanth explained. Read more

WannaCry ‘ransomware’ virus, a vulnerability stolen from the NSA: Microsoft

WannaCry – “ransomware” has locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries

Officials across the globe scrambled over the weekend to catch the culprits behind a massive ransomware worm that disrupted operations at car factories, hospitals, shops and schools, while Microsoft on Sunday pinned blame on the US government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities.

Cyber security experts said the spread of the worm dubbed WannaCry – “ransomware” that locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries – had slowed but that the respite might only be brief amid fears new versions of the worm will strike.

In a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft President Brad Smith appeared to tacitly acknowledge what researchers had already widely concluded: The ransomware attack leveraged a hacking tool, built by the US National Security Agency, that leaked online in April.

“This is an emerging pattern in 2017,” Smith wrote. “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world.”

He also poured fuel on a long-running debate over how government intelligence services should balance their desire to keep software flaws secret – in order to conduct espionage and cyber warfare – against sharing those flaws with technology companies to better secure the internet.

“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Smith wrote. He added that governments around the world should “treat this attack as a wake-up call” and “consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.” Read more

Vivo V5s: At Rs 18,990, it’s a wallet-friendly smartphone for great selfies

The phone has neat looks and the Apple design influences are apparent

Vivo is one Chinese brand that has created a niche in the Indian smartphone market for its top-of-the-line camera and music experience.

With the smartphone penetration maturing and demand for high-end devices retailing at competitive prices continuing to grow in the country, Vivo, with its strong offline presence, has been investing substantially in the domestic market.

The company has differentiated itself by introducing the “Moonlight Glow” feature in its Vivo V5 and V5 Plus devices, raising the bar for closest Chinese rivals like Oppo and Gionee when it comes to selfie-focused smartphones.

Taking design cues from Apple, Vivo has now launched Vivo V5s at Rs 18,990.

Here is what works for the device.

The phone has neat looks and the Apple design influences are apparent. One of great features is the fingerprint sensor which is located on the front, below the display, and works just like Apple’s Touch ID on iPhone, unlocking the device in a jiffy.

The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it is a modified version called Funtouch OS.

During the review period, the phone was fast and responsive. Playing games like “Asphalt 8: AirBorne” was smooth and social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat worked without hiccups — even while adding filters.

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