arstechnica

PS4 outselling Xbox One 2:1....

Please take these.. We need SOMEONE to buy them..

Please take these.. We need SOMEONE to buy them..

The Microsoft hype machine is working overtime to push Xbox One sales, and to put the system in your face at every opportunity. We were treated to 2 (TWO) Xbox One commercials in the pre-trailer entertainment at our local theater a week or so ago, and the commercials have been on-stop on TV, podcasts, radio, and even my Kindle has push ads showing up. It is apparent that Microsoft wants everyone with eyes and ears to know one thing: The Xbox One is here, and it is available for sale EVERYWHERE. The problem is, consumers seem to be well aware, and just don't care. They are too busy trying to find a PS4. Six weeks after the launch of the PlayStation 4 from Sony, and it is still outselling the Xbox One system almost 2 to 1. Yesterday, an analyst at Baird Equity Research who has been tracking the overall sales at Ebay this holiday season reported that, “[It] looks like around 65k PS4s and 33k Xbox One’s have sold on [Ebay] to-date.” This jibes with Ebay’s official figures, which pegged first-weekend sales of the PS4 at 10,000, and first-weekend sales of the Xbox One at 7,000. For comparison, the Xbox 360 sold 326,000 units in North America in its first two weeks, and around 40,000 units on Ebay in the first month. 

Amazon's PS4 stock, on launch day

Amazon's PS4 stock, on launch day

These numbers for Ebay sales are statistically relevant to Equity Firms and Retailers because they generally reflect supply chain issues for a product. If a product is a hard commodity to find in the retail market, it's value in the "who wants it the most" scalper market on auction sites rises. Analysts with several firms have attributed the current sales predicament with Ebay as a result of low stock in stores, thus stating the inflated sales of PS4's to be a supply chain issue and therefore an anomaly. All that messy noise pushed aside, one can examine real marketplace facts: When a product has a massive stock available to consumers (Product A), and is still being outsold by a product that is relatively hard to find (Product B), then one is simply far outselling the other. Which is directly attributed to consumer demand. Period. Having visited several local retailers in the area over the last week, including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Gamestop & Kmart, we noted that every one of these stores had a healthy supply of Xbox One systems ready and available to sell. Only 2 had a PlayStation 4 , and in both cases, they only had 1, with a person claiming it on the spot. That is clear evidence that when presented with an option, both systems readily available for purchase in front of them, consumers chose to purchase a PS4.Looking for one yourself? Check the stock tracker HERE

Spotify to provide FREE MOBILE streaming starting next week...

An article in the Wall Street Journal points to an announcement coming from Spotify next week, that they will offer FREE ad supported streaming. "The Journal reports that Spotify has been negotiating for nearly a year to get new mobile streaming rights, and it finally has the blessing of Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. The rights holders and Spotify not only had to agree on rates but on how the music could be used.

The way things turned out, users who listen to Spotify for free will be able to stream only a limited number of songs to mobile devices on demand (the limitation has not yet been specified). The bread and butter of mobile service will still be radio-style service, a la Pandora or iTunes Radio.

Currently, any usage of Spotify’s mobile app is a privilege of the company’s $10/month subscription. Spotify recently showed that it makes significantly more money off its subscribers than ad-supported users, so chipping away at subscriber perks appears to be an odd move. However, the Journalsuggests that a broader base of mobile listeners stands to “supply the labels [that own a stake in Spotify] with significant ad revenue.” After this announcement, the ability to store music offline in Spotify’s mobile app will remain a subscriber-only feature."

Everything you think you know about Malware is wrong.

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Malware, or "Bad Software", is a malicious software that disrupts the normal operation of your computer, is becoming more prolific and dangerous by the day. Ever week it seems we see more and more reports of new software popping that will hijack your computer or compromise your data. Malware is actually a general term that encompasses most well known malicious software such as viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, worms, trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, BHO's and more. The problem is, hearing about it has become so commonplace, that most times, people see the headline and brush it off. "That only happens to people who go to porn sites", "I have antivirus software on my computer" and the most common and dangerous one of all, "I have a Mac. Mac's can't get viruses", are common statements I hear issued to express lack of concern. The problem in today's world though, is this: None of that will keep you safe. New Malware has been identified that doesn't even need an internet connection to spread, and it can send it'self to other computers without you doing anything. ARE YOU LISTENING NOW?

As I have an increasing number of customers who bring me computers and laptops infected with problems as simple as some coupon clipper adware, and as nasty as the FBI/Homeland Security Ransomware that demands money to unlock your computer, I felt it an important time to discuss some common myths and misconceptions regarding viruses, spyware, malware etc.. So let me explain the answers to a few of the comments mentioned above:

"That only happens to people who go to porn sites"

 - WRONGThe fact is, as Reported in the Internet Security Threat Report, you are for more likely to get infected visiting a religious or ideological website than any with adult content. The primary reason being that porn sites are making a fortune on the internet. And they employ some pretty talented security professionals to protect all those profits. They don't want a risk of Viruses or Spyware scaring off current or potential customers. Religious and ideological websites however, are often put together by a local member of the church as a favor, or by a small firm, and regularly updated and maintained in many cases by volunteers. The lax security protocols and setups make these sites prime targets of Hackers and evildoers. 

 

"I have antivirus software on my computer"

 - SO DID MORE THAN 70% OF THE COMPUTERS I CLEANED THIS YEAR.. 

Regardless of the exceptional work of expert security professionals at companies like Symantec (Norton), McAfee, AVG and more, these companies work retroactively. They build awesome tools to kill, remove and immunize against KNOWN issues. The problem is, they can only build a tool to deal with it once a virus is out there doing damage. In addition, those new tools can only protect you if you have applied all the latest updates. In many cases, by the time your AV software has identified the problem, it can be too late.  

 

"I have a Mac. Mac's can't get viruses"

 - WRONG. DOUBLE WRONG.  

This common misconception has been perpetuated for years. And while the number of detected malware deployments on Mac are significantly lower, this has nothing to do with security. It has to do with Mac users only making up 7.73% of the total market of computer owners. If you open a business and need to advertise, are you going to print advertisements to distribute across the US, would you print them in English which over 90% of the country speaks? On in Cantonese, which fewer than 8% speak? Which would increase your sales more? This principle holds true with Mac. Nowhere near as many viruses are written for Mac, because they are such a small representation of the user base. But thanks to exceptional marketing, great hardware and world class design, that is changing. Mac sales are increasing exponentially over the last 4 years, and with more users comes more opportunity for Hackers. Now, don't take the previous statement about the lack of Mac users to mean there are not Mac viruses. In fact, security researchers globally have stated that Mac is actually far less secure than Windows. Even Apple themselves have admitted that they are vulnerable, as evidenced by a number of major attacks: In February 2012, Apple's own computers at corporate were hit with malware, In April 2012, the Flashback Trojan affected over 600,000 Mac users. All in all, the important point here is this: Operating Systems have vulnerabilities. ALL of them. 

Recently I wrote regarding a new particularly nasty type of Ransomware that is 100% unfixable. Period. Even with the combined powers of your local tech guy, the NSA, FBI, and all the Security Pros out there. Once infected, you pay up, or lose all your data. This threat is real. And it is an ever present threat. You need to protect yourself. Now, a renowned security researcher known for his contributions to the community has nicknamed a new Malware "badBIOS" a malware that is so advanced, it can spread from machine to machine through the speakers and microphone. It may sound like a bad sci-fi movie, but this is real. According to ArsTechnica :"A..computer began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting. His network transmitted data specific to the Internet's next-generation IPv6 networking protocol, even from computers that were supposed to have IPv6 completely disabled. Strangest of all was the ability of infected machines to transmit small amounts of network data with other infected machines even when their power cords and Ethernet cables were unplugged and their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards were removed. Further investigation soon showed that the list of affected operating systems also included multiple variants of Windows and Linux. "We were like, 'Okay, we're totally owned,'" Ruiu told Ars. "'We have to erase all our systems and start from scratch,' which we did. It was a very painful exercise. I've been suspicious of stuff around here ever since... The most visible sign of contamination is a machine's inability to boot off a CD... He said he suspects badBIOS is only the initial module of a multi-staged payload that has the ability to infect the Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, and Linux operating systems." 

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Ruiu has even more alarmingly seen machines in their lab that were air-gapped being affected. Air-gapping is the process of physically isolating a computer from any type of communication: Wired, wireless, Bluetooth, IR and even Power cords. Completely isolated. And even these machines were infected, and continued to spread the infection until the speakers and mic were removed. According to Ruiu "It looks like the state of the art in intrusion stuff is a lot more advanced than we assumed it was," Ruiu concluded in an interview. "The take-away from this is a lot of our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this. A lot of companies have to take a lot more care when they use forensic data if they're faced with sophisticated attackers."

It is more important than ever to protect yourself, and your data. Don't assume you are doing well enough. Call us today to setup an appointment to look at your network at home or office. Don't be a victim.