Month: December 2023

How to securely erase your Android device in 3 simple steps

It's an inevitable moment in the smartphone-owning cycle: the point at which a newer, shinier model comes along and your trusty old device is no longer needed.

Maybe your company bought you a new Android phone. Maybe your old one was getting too slow. Or maybe you just love electronics and couldn't resist the lure of whatever eye-catching new Android gizmo your favorite manufacturer started selling.

Whatever the case, it's common nowadays to find yourself with an extra phone. And while there are plenty of practical uses for an old Android device, there's also a time when the best choice is to sell, donate, or otherwise pass it along.

To read this article in full, please click here

The top 10 tech stories of 2023

The top technology stories of 2023 highlight fundamental changes in culture and geopolitics as well as tech itself: It's clear that generative AI will affect all aspects of technology and society, while geopolitical tensions are sparking cybersecurity attacks globally. General unease about the dominance of big tech, meanwhile, is pushing regulators to get tougher on mopolistic business practices and multibillion-dollar mergers.

Fired! Rehired! Sam Altman’s ouster and return to OpenAI

sam altman openai Shutterstock

The ouster of Sam Altman as CEO of OpenAI, which sparked the modern era of generative AI when it launched ChatGPT a year earlier, was the tech industry shocker of the year. After the board issued a mysterious statement on November 17 saying that it had fired Altman for not being "consistently candid," Microsoft announced that it would hire Altman and any other OpenAI employees who wanted to follow him out the door — which turned out to be almost all of them. OpenAI backed down and rehired Altman.

To read this article in full, please click here

Choosing a genAI partner: Trust, but verify

Enterprise executives, still enthralled by the possibilities of generative artificial intelligence (genAI), more often than not are insisting that their IT departments figure out how to make the technology work. 

Let’s set aside the usual concerns about genAI, such as the hallucinations and other errors that make it essential to check every single line it generates (and obliterate any hoped-for efficiency boosts). Or that data leakage is inevitable and will be next to impossible to detect until it is too late. (OWASP has put together an impressive list of the biggest IT threats from genAI and LLMs in general.) 

To read this article in full, please click here

For December, an exceptionally light Patch Tuesday

Over the past year, we've seen Microsoft make radical improvements in its browser stability and significant positive changes to its Windows update communication and telemetry strategies.  And this month's Patch Tuesday release brings with it an incredibly light set of updates — maybe the fewest number of updates I have ever seen.

There are no zero-days, which is a great finish to 2023, though Windows gets three critical updates and Visual Studio will require immediate attention due to several re-releases of past critical application patches.

The team at Readiness has created a helpful infographic to outline the risks associated with each update in this last release of 2023. One note of caution: we have seen several potential updates to older patches (October/November) potentially coming down the release pipeline from Microsoft. It might be worth checking in during the upcoming holiday break to see whether there are any out-of-band patches for the Windows ecosystem.

To read this article in full, please click here

Internet traffic soars in 2023, with generative AI a standout trend: Report

This year saw a 25% rise in global internet traffic, reflecting an increasing reliance on online services, according to a new report by cloud performance and security company Cloudflare.

In its annual Year in Review reports, Cloudflare offers an overview of online trends and security issues. This year, Cloudflare said, Google retained its position as the most popular internet site,  followed by Facebook, Apple, and TikTok. Facebook surpassed 2022's leader, TikTok, in social media, with Instagram and Twitter/X also ranking highly.

The emerging category of generative AI services saw OpenAI in the lead, followed by Character AI, Quillbot, and Hugging Face.

To read this article in full, please click here

What is Stolen Device Protection for iPhone and how does it work?

Take that, iPhone thieves — Apple is about to make it even more difficult to use its smartphones when you have no right to do so. In the upcoming iOS 17.3, it is testing out a new security system called "Stolen Device Protection."

Here's a look at what this is, and what it does.

Stolen Device Protection explained

Apple’s beta notes explain: “Stolen Device Protection adds an additional layer of security in the unlikely case that someone has stolen your iPhone and also obtained your passcode.”

The company explains the features this way:

  • Accessing your saved passwords requires Face/Touch ID to be sure it’s you.
  • Changing sensitive settings like your Apple ID password is protected by a security delay.
  • No delay is required when iPhone is at familiar locations such as home and work.

The idea is that Stolen Device Protection introduces another obstacle that makes it difficult for thieves to gain access to your data, erase it, or delete the device to factory fresh status for resale.

To read this article in full, please click here

Spanish media’s $600M suit against Meta is based on GDPR noncompliance

Facebook parent company Meta is facing yet another legal challenge over user privacy, as a Spanish media company representing top media outlets in the country is suing the social media giant for $600 million for competitively unfair advertising practices based on noncompliance with the EU's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR).

The Information Media Association (La Asociación de Medios de Información, or AMI), has filed a €550 million ($600 million) lawsuit against Meta, claiming Meta's ability to design personalized advertising on its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms based on its enormous user base represents an unfair competitive advantage in the advertising market in Europe, which includes media companies.

To read this article in full, please click here

Microsoft to offer extended Windows 10 security updates to businesses, individual users

Microsoft plans to offer extended security updates to both business and individual Windows 10 users for the first time when the operating system reaches end-of-life in late 2025.

Microsoft encouraged Windows 10 customers to begin plans to migrate to the latest version of the operating system — Windows 11 — last April with the announcement that Windows 10 22H2 would be the final version.

Windows 10 is still the most widely used version of the OS, accounting for 64% of US desktop market share, according to StatCounter’s figures; that compared to 30% for Windows 11.

To read this article in full, please click here