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30
Jan
2018

Strava Fitness Tracker May Have Revealed Troop Movements In Syria

by Administrator

Just how ubiquitous and accepted have IoT (internet of things) devices become? A recent dump of data from the fitness tracker company Strava appears to have incidentally revealed a wealth of secret troop movement and base location data in Syria and beyond.

Location data is an important part of many fitness apps for helping users seeking to optimize their routes or for tracking progress of a fitness regimen. However, a new data dump from Strava, one of the main players in that market may now be putting the entire device category under fire with military officials scrambling to identify or overcome potentially serious leaks of classified information including the location of clandestine military bases, patrol routes and more.

UCA analyst Nathan Ruser discovered information in Strava’s publicly available activity map may include fitness routes of soldiers and agents in sensitive locations, including Afghanistan and Syria, as well as airbases in the Falkland Islands, a suspected CIA base in Somalia and some Russian bases have also been outlined as well.

Even at some of the publicly known locations, this data may flesh out secret aspects of the location like the specific coordinates of living quarters, frequently-trafficked paths and hints at patrol or supply routes.

Strava has reminded users that they could turn off location sharing, and that the map doesn’t include private activities or areas deemed private. However, the fact that consumer electronics are now in such widespread use without much thought about security or danger even among military brass does bring into focus how much the world has changed and how transparent it has quickly become.

Your commercial or personal data deserves the highest level of protection, and at NationalNet we strive each day to ensure it is only accessible by those you intend to communicate it with, but this story should serve as a strong reminder that your data security can always be overcome come by inadvertent choices which give away that data without a second thought. To discuss your data security, hosting needs or to obtain references for security audit professionals please feel free to contact NationalNet.com today.

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18
Jan
2018

HTCVive PRO Is Announced For Truly Wireless VR

by Bill

The original Vive VR headset debuted almost two years ago, and now HTC is announcing the next generation Vive headset with a new Pro model that is completely wireless.

Along with the cordless capabilities comes HTC ‘s increase of native resolution on the dual-OLED displays by 78% to 2880 x 1600 (1400 x 1600 per eye, and 615 ppi) over the original Vive headsets. These specs are particularly important because they put the Vive Pro above and beyond the Oculus Rift or Windows Mixed Reality headsets on the market and prompt competitors to up the ante by pushing the limits of VR even harder.

Pricing and availability have been hush-hush so far, but the original Vive now sells for under $400 US and the Vive is heavily subsidized by a partnership with Valve, the world’s leading digital gaming company. So pricing shouldn’t be astronomical and adoption should increase rapidly as people adapt to a whole new era in digital media consumption.

The VR evolution includes 360 video capabilities, new potential for haptic forms of data security that require physical gestures and more. On the flip side, it presents hosting companies with new challenges to put through massive amounts of data more rapidly than ever, as even a slight lag can completely ruin the immersive experience.

NationalNet is well aware of this exciting new vertical and will keep our clients fully informed as we continue to strengthen our networks and offer the fastest most reliable servers available anywhere for clients pursuing the VR gold rush or any other kind of digital business goals into the future.

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10
Jan
2018

Meltdown and Spectre Present New Data Security Challenges

by Bill

If you’ve opened up any news site or paper recently, you may have noticed some headlines about things called Meltdown and Spectre. These are not new video games or box office hits. These are two newly discovered security flaws that affect virtually every single electronic device you own. How could a security breach be so widespread? Well, the problem is that it’s not actually attached to any specific program or software. The issue is in the hardware itself.

Meltdown is a vulnerability in microchips themselves. These chips are found in virtually every single computer and many web servers too. Researchers discovered that the flaw could allow people to read your personal data right off of the hardware, bypassing any security features that software and apps have put into place.

Spectre is another flaw that is based in both Intel microchips and Advanced Mortal Directives. This one could let hackers trick programs like apps and software into giving them information. Basically every computer is affected by these discoveries and it’s a wonder that they haven’t been exposed sooner.

Either of these openings could theoretically affect every single computer using Intel chips made since 1995. However, researchers have only tested computers dating back to 2011.

The tricky thing about both of these bugs is that you can’t tell if anyone has used them on your devices to get at your information. It’s impossible to know if either of these flaws has been used by hackers but given how many leaks and hacks there have been lately, it’s likely.

This just goes to show why it is important to have secure hosting, like that offered by NationalNet. We are feverishly working behind the scenes on these and will do all we can to ensure your hosting is handled to the absolute limit of data security standards. We will continue to monitor this story and your servers to keep all of our clients informed and up to date with the latest patches and fixes as they are available.

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19
Dec
2017

Holiday Tech Gifts At Discount Prices For Generous Hosts

by Bill

If you are in the tech industry (reading the NationalNet Blog about our amazing hosting on a regular basis would definitely qualify you), then the annual holiday season likely brings you the added pressure to come up with terrific tech gifts for those you care about.

At NationalNet we pride ourselves on providing every client with top tier tech support from the first ring or support ticket straight through to the final resolution of each opportunity for our staff to provide you with service, but we also understand that you may prefer not to provide phone support to your own extended family every time they misplace their password or need to reboot their device. For that reason we are posting this listing of terrific holiday tech gifts at deeply discounted prices.

Laptops, Desktops, Smart Home Devices and More at a fraction of their list price, and many of the items listed are the sort of “one button” items that would be difficult for any luddite to misuse.

What we have learned over the years from serving our clients, is that providing useful technology in a simple, straight-forward and cost effective manner makes all the difference in many relationships. We hope the holidays are a time of tremendous joy for you and all those you love. Hopefully this post also allows you to ring in the New Year with a peaceful January of 2018, fill with happy friends and family who hardly need your assistance at all with LED smart bulbs, Video Doorbells and other terrific tech gifts you provided for them as a gracious host in your own right.

Happy Holidays!

– Your Friends at NationalNet

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11
Dec
2017

Google Rethinks Self-Imposed Ban On Accessibility Apps

by Bill

Google recently warned developers it would soon ban the use of Android accessibility APIs for things other than accessibility. Developers have long used the accessibility APIs to connect with the operating system, until Google notified developers they had 30 days to explain how their app was using the Accessibility APIs to help a user with disabilities or face outright removal from the Play Store. Now public outcry has Google reversing direction and pausing their bans.

Many of Android’s most popular apps use the Android accessibility APIs’ unique set of features including popular apps like: Tasker, Lastpass, and Greenify. The workaround was necessitated by the fact that Google has been so slow to build proper APIs for some of these accessibility hacks. Usage Access API, Autofill API and others are in different points along Google’s own development timeline but the fragmented Android ecosystem makes solving systemic issues far more complicated than they are with a closed system like the one Apple uses.

Will Google Android become more of a walled garden in the future? Or will they simply allow Devs to continue to use workarounds on systems that now skirt the original purpose of their creator’s intent? It’s an interesting evolution unfolding and it is impacting millions of potential customers as Android gains market share and the number of devices continues to expand in ways that will make these sorts of complications even more challenging to moderate in the near future.

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28
Nov
2017

NSA Cybertools Hacked Like Anything Else

by Bill

A recent New York Times expose has revealed serious breaches of data security within the NSA and the possible hack of many previously safe cybersecurity tools used at the highest levels of governmental communication. The hack is not only a massive dent in the reputation of the nation’s top security organization, but a serious real world challenge to the overall data storage on a global scale now that these tools have been compromised.

“They had operational insight that even most of my fellow operators at T.A.O. did not have,” said Mr. Williams, now with Rendition Infosec, a cybersecurity firm he founded according to the New York Times. “I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. Whoever wrote this either was a well-placed insider or had stolen a lot of operational data.”

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon E. Panetta added, “These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities. The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”

The echoes of these sentiments among cybersecurity professionals are everywhere. In the wake of the Equifax breach and this NSA penetration it is becoming increasingly clear that data is not protectable even with the highest standards of security from top level spies and hackers.

Fortunately, most state sponsored security hackers are not interested in breaking into the websites of individual small or medium sized companies, so securing your data from the people who would abuse it should still be possible. The NationalNet team takes all reasonable precautions to protect our clients and we are here to help in the event of any potential breach. If you see something out of the ordinary, always say something, and we will work through it with you until your servers and data streams are as secure as humanly possible.

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06
Nov
2017

US Federal Judge Rejects Global De-Indexing Order By Canada’s Highest Court

by Bill

A recent Canadian court order demands that Google “de-index” all pages relevant to a company named Datalink, which seems to have sold products intended to violate the IP of the Vancouver-based company Equustek. The order would require Google to alter global search results. Google filed suit in US federal court seeking an order to make the Canadian ruling unenforceable within the United States. Now, US District Judge Edward Davila granted a preliminary injunction stopping Equustek’s Canadian order from being enforced anywhere in the USA. Davila found that the order violates Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is intended to prevent any online platform from being held responsible for any content posted by any user.

Google claimed the Plaintiffs “never established any violation of their rights under US law.” Making the matter even easier for Google to win, Equustek never showed up to defend itself in US court case and allowed the case to be entirely one-sided.

The injunction against the Canadian order not only protects Google but also will “serve the public interest,” Davila held. “[T]he Canadian order would hold Google liable as the ‘publisher or speaker’ of the information on Datalink’s websites… By forcing intermediaries to remove links to third-party material, the Canadian order undermines the policy goals of Section 230 and threatens free speech on the global Internet.”

This new ruling reaffirms the position of US courts and legislators regarding claims of online digital piracy by third-parties. A contentious issue for years, now with a new ruling that is not likely to reduce passions on either side of the debate

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01
Nov
2017

AT&T Opens Up It’s New Artificial Intelligence Platform Acumos

by Bill

Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have already released frameworks designed to get developers building AI-powered applications on their platforms. AT&T just entered the fray in a big way with their own new AI platform called Acumos, revealed at a Dallas event today.

Now anyone using the Google TensorFlow framework to create machine-learning tools will be able to use Acumos as both a directory for sharing AI models and an ordered system usable to customize or connect independent models in useful ways.

AT&T is developing the Acumos  in conjunction with Tech Mahindra. The underlying code is hosted by the Linux Foundation, and is entirely open-source. However, that’s while AT&T is giving away the platform and the Linux Foundation will also host a public version of Acumos that anyone can use, independent organizations can also choose to create private versions of Acumos as well.

While the media focuses on the wonders of Virtual Reality as an entertainment medium… the big tech players are much more interested in the limitless possibilities of true artificial intelligence as problem-solving methodology that is quickly taking shape. National Net remains actively interested and aware of these new technologies because we view it as our responsibility to provide all of our clients with the best tools on the backend and front end to compete with any other product or service online. Whether that is through your own intelligence, business intelligence you gather or the artificial intelligence we may soon provide!

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23
Oct
2017

Federal Regulators Propose Honest Online Ads Law

by Bill

Action seems to be on the horizon as a bipartisan group of federal regulators says it wants to impede Russia attempts to influence US elections. The group is proposing new legislation that would require companies including: Google, Twitter, and Facebook to fully disclose who is buying political advertisements on each platform and continue to maintain those records long after elections are over.

The Honest Ads Act would initially require Internet companies to follow similar rules for political advertising that now apply for TV, Radio, and Print media Facebook recently announced it found roughly 500 “inauthentic” accounts linked to Russian subversion via posts and ad purchases.

However, as Bloomberg News was quick to point out an Internet troll could easily mask their location and intentions to subvert the new law anyway. Jane Doe from a random location with a localized phone number would be able to buy any political ad they wanted, even if they were actually in Moscow working for the Russian government. The transaction would be recorded but would just show the fake name and other bogus user information.

“Unfortunately, US laws requiring transparency in political campaigns have not kept pace with rapid advances in technology,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a statement. “Allowing our adversaries to take advantage of these loopholes to influence millions of American voters with impunity.”

“What we want to try to do is start with a light touch,” added Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) of the proposed bill.

The weakness of the measure in the real world, and implications of expanding these regulations to non-political ads is also a cause of concern. “So when I want to buy an ad on Facebook to sell a colon cleanse… now they have to report all my personal information to the government and store those records?” said one prominent online marketer we spoke with who asked to be anonymous. “It’s just another overreach and invasion of privacy, putting commercial entities in the middle and demanding they spy on American citizens under the auspices of national security… without any real hope of ancient people in Congress crafting a law that would actually protect our elections.”

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10
Oct
2017

Literally Every Yahoo Account Ever Hacked

by Bill

When a company has a major hack, you expect a few things. Probably, some accounts have been compromised, but maybe not all. Secondly, you may expect not all the information will be available right away. Yahoo has a lot to answer for, because it recently revealed a 2013 attack on their servers which was previously thought to have compromised about 1 billion accounts, but now the facts are becoming available and in actuality all 3 billion accounts in existence at the time. This massive revision of how many accounts were affected is very important for consumers, and also is significant because Yahoo was in discussions to be bought out by Verizon in the interim.

The information revealed may not be quite as serious as the sensitive financial data revealed during the most recent Equifax breach, but it is quite serious because it includes things like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and passwords which can be used illegally in conjunction with the Equifax data to compromise the identities of millions of people globally.

This rash of hacks has many wondering what the point is of shredding old bank statements and phone bills before discarding them, when it is now so easy for nefarious parties to simple gather your hacked data digitally.

With this climate of hacking, it’s important to work with companies that you truly trust. You can count on NationalNet to provide you with hosting that will keep your data as secure as modern technology allows. Much is being done to research new forms of data security as previously reported here on the NationalNet Blog, including China’s quantum entanglement plans. As new tools become available on the commercial level, we will continue to implement them quickly… hopefully Yahoo and the credit bureaus will also do so as well.

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