Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Trudeau welcomes Google with Toronto tech paradise


Alphabet, Google’s parent company, will be developing 3.3 million acres along the waterfront of Lake Ontario for its Sidewalk Labs initiative.

Sidewalk Labs

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday in Toronto that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will develop a portion of the waterfront along Lake Ontario. The development will house Sidewalk Labs, a unit of Alphabet focused on innovation in urban environments.

“This project offers unprecedented opportunities for Canadian innovators and will create thousands of good, middle class jobs,” Trudeau said during the announcement alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

According to The Globe and Mail, Google’s Canadian headquarters will be relocating to the 12-acre site.

Schmidt said that “we are making a bold bet that innovation technology and forward-thinking urban design can make fundamental improvements in city life.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/trudeau-welcomes-google-with-toronto-tech-paradise/#ftag=CAD590a51e

KRACK attack: Here’s how companies are responding

A serious Wi-Fi security flaw was revealed Monday, and it puts everything from your phone to your smart refrigerator at risk.

An exploit called KRACK, short for Key Reinstallation Attack, hits on a weakness in the code behind WPA2, a protocol that makes wireless connections work in practically every device. It was discovered by computer security academic Mathy Vanhoef and could allow hackers to eavesdrop on your network traffic, ZDNet reported on Monday.  

The most important thing you can do is update your devices as patches become available. While some companies already have patches available, others say it could take weeks. 

Here’s a list of how companies and device makers have responded to KRACK so far.



Some companies have already stepped up to patch their devices after the KRACK Wi-Fi security flaw. 

James Martin/CNET

“Microsoft released security updates on October 10th and customers who have Windows Update enabled and applied the security updates, are protected automatically. We updated to protect customers as soon as possible, but as a responsible industry partner, we withheld disclosure until other vendors could develop and release updates.”

Apple iOS and Mac

Apple confirmed it has a fix in beta for iOS, MacOS, WatchOS and TVOS, and will be rolling it out in a software update in a few weeks. 

Google Mobile

“We’re aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks.”  

Google Chromebook 

Wasn’t available for comment.

Google Chromecast/ Home/ WiFi  

“We’re aware of the issue, and we will be patching any affected devices in the coming weeks.”

Amazon Echo, FireTV and Kindle 

“We are in the process of reviewing which of our devices may contain this vulnerability and will be issuing patches where needed.” 

Samsung Mobile

“As soon as we are notified of any potential vulnerabilities, we work closely to address those issues as quickly as possible. We are aware of this matter and will be rolling out patches to Samsung devices in the coming weeks.”

Samsung TVs 

Wasn’t available for comment.

Samsung Appliances

Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment. 


“Belkin Linksys, and Wemo are aware of the WPA vulnerability. Our security teams are verifying details and we will advise accordingly. Also know that we are committed to putting the customer first and are planning to post instructions on our security advisory page on what customers can do to update their products, if and when required.”  


“NETGEAR is aware of the recently publicized security exploit KRACK, which takes advantage of security vulnerabilities in WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access II). NETGEAR has published fixes for multiple products and is working on fixes for others. Please follow the security advisory for updates. 

“NETGEAR appreciates having security concerns brought to our attention and are constantly monitoring our products to get in front of the latest threats. Being pro-active rather than re-active to emerging security issues is a fundamental belief at NETGEAR.  

“To protect users, NETGEAR does not publicly announce security vulnerabilities until fixes are publicly available, nor are the exact details of such vulnerabilities released. Once fixes are available, NETGEAR will announce the vulnerabilities from NETGEAR Product Security web page.”  


“We are aware of the KRACK flaw in the WPA2 security protocol. Our security team is currently working on a solution, and we expect to have more information available later today. We have built our cloud system to push over-the-air (OTA) updates for situations exactly like this, to ensure all of our customers get the most updated software available as quickly as possible with no action required on their part.”

Here’s Eero’s blog post about the vulnerability. 


“On Oct. 16, 2017, a WPA2 wireless protocol vulnerability was reported. D-Link immediately took actions to investigate the issues. This appears to be an industry-wide issue that will require firmware patches to be provided from the relevant semiconductor chipset manufacturers. D-Link has requested assistance from the chipset manufacturers. As soon as patches are received and validated from the chipset manufacturers, D-Link will post updates on its website support.dlink.com immediately.”


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


“Since Sprint’s network operates on CDMA and LTE technology, not Wi-Fi, the KRACK vulnerabilities are not direct threats to those wireless networks. However, similar to any large company that utilizes Wi-Fi for internal business, we have taken steps to address the vulnerability internally to protect the company.”


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.   


“Intel was notified by the Industry Consortium for Advancement of Security on the Internet (ICASI) and CERT CC of the identified Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) standard protocol vulnerability. Intel is an ICASI charter member and is part of the coordinated disclosure of this issue. 

“Intel is working with its customers and equipment manufacturers to implement and validate firmware and software updates that address the vulnerability. For more information, please refer to Intel’s security advisory on this vulnerability – INTEL-SA-00101”  


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


“We are aware of the issue and will be rolling out patches to Nest products over the next couple weeks.” 


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.

LG Electronics

Wasn’t available for comment.

LG Mobile

“Smartphone OEMs have to work very closely with Google to find solutions for OS-level vulnerabilities.

“Google is in the process of rolling out patches to carriers and manufacturers at this very moment but it takes time to cover all the major smartphone models.

“So it’s hard to say exactly when a specific phone will get the fix but it’s certainly being addressed.”

LG Appliances

Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.

Philips Hue  

“The KRACK attack is against devices using the Wi-Fi protocol. We recommend that consumers use secure Wi-Fi passwords and install the latest patches on their phones, computers and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices to prevent such attacks. Since Philips Hue does not itself support Wi-Fi directly, it does not need to be patched because of this attack. Further, all our cloud account APIs are protected using HTTPS which offers an additional layer of security which isn’t affected by this attack.”  


Wasn’t available for comment. 


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


Wasn’t available for comment.


“All traffic to and from Roost devices is encrypted end-to-end using the latest SSL/TLS encryption. As such, we don’t believe our devices are at risk of this attack. We suggest that our users follow the recommendations from the Wi-Fi Alliance to always use Wi-Fi encryption on their Access points and apply the latest software updates.”  


Wasn’t available for comment.

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

Special Reports: CNET’s in-depth features in one place.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/krack-wi-fi-attack-patch-how-microsoft-apple-google-responding/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Obsessed with ‘The Walking Dead?’ Enter to win* your zombie fan gear now!

Obsessed with “The Walking Dead’s” Norman Reedus? So are we. To kick off the highly anticipated eighth season of “The Walking Dead”, CNET Magazine has partnered with TV Guide to bring you signed swag and exclusive prizes from AMC’s “The Walking Dead!”

Norman Reedus himself signed CNET Magazines and posters to give away to only the most dedicated fans. Honestly, what could be better?

These prizes could be yours:

One grand prize winner will take home a CNET Magazine Cover Poster signed by Norman Reedus, a Walking Dead Clock, a Norman Reedus Chopper Funko Toy, a set of “Walking Dead” exclusive Comic-Con collector’s cards, a “Walking Dead” T-shirt (Men’s large), and a copy of the Fall 2017 CNET Magazine issue, featuring Norman Reedus.

  • The first runner up will receive The Walking Dead Monopoly Game, a Negan Funko Toy, a Norman Reedus Crossbow Funko Toy, an I Love Daryl shirt (Junior’s large), and a copy of the Fall 2017 CNET Magazine issue, signed by Norman Reedus
  • The second runner-up will win a “Walking Dead” baseball hat, CNET Magazine Cover Poster signed by Norman Reedus, and a Fall 2017 CNET Magazine issue.
  • The third runner-up will take home a Fall 2017 CNET Magazine issue, signed by Norman Reedus, and the Rosita Funko Toy.

To enter this giveaway you simply have to read our rules carefully and fill out the form on this story while accepting our terms and conditions.

Want to increase your chances of winning? You will receive one additional entry for each friend who enters the giveaway through the personal link you get after you sign up. Keep in mind you can only get up to 10 additional entries per person. Good luck and don’t forget to grab your copy of our CNET Magazine!

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/obsessed-with-the-walking-dead-enter-to-win-your-zombie-fan-gear-now/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Get ready for ‘unlimited data’ of 5G networks in 2019

When it comes to 5G networks, there’s something beyond pure speed to get excited about.

Next-generation mobile networks will be able to accommodate a lot more people and a lot more data as carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile and ATT and manufacturers like Nokia and Ericsson improve the total capacity of the network. That means your phone won’t be fighting against all the others trying to send and receive data.

“Once 5G arrives on a nationwide basis, there is so much bandwidth available that we will have pretty much unlimited access to data,” predicted Forrester analyst Dan Bieler.

5G will indeed be able to send data faster than 4G — probably something like 10 times faster than the new advanced versions of 4G. But those peak speeds often exist only in ideal conditions. By contrast, 5G should be more reliably fast. In other words, you’ll still be able to update Facebook, send that email attachment and stream your favorite TV show, even in crowded areas like city centers and stadiums where today’s 4G networks often struggle.

5G stands for fifth-generation network technology, and it should transform our digital lives as profoundly as previous generational shifts. Back in the 1990s, 2G was mostly good enough for text only, but 3G opened up the world of photo sharing and 4G made streaming video practical. 5G won’t just boost reliability, though. It could also accelerate new technologies like augmented reality, help self-driving cars send time-critical messages to one another, and link to the network everything from pollution sensors to health monitors.

Coming sooner than you thought

5G networks are expected to arrive in 2019. The conventional wisdom is that the early examples will be for what’s called “fixed wireless” connections, bringing fast broadband to your house without having to dig a pesky trench for a fiber-optic cable. However, Qualcomm, a top maker of mobile chips and radio technology, insists 5G will come to your phone that year, too.

“What drove industry support is that global demand for mobile broadband continues to rise,” said Matt Branda, Qualcomm’s director of 5G technical marketing. “Things are lining up to make this a reality in 2019 in your smartphones.”

Qualcomm announced further progress Tuesday in Asia. Its Snapdragon X50 5G NR Modem, a chip for 5G phones, has made its first 5G connection. It was in carefully controlled lab conditions, but it was able to receive data at a gigabit per second, said Sherif Hanna, manager of 4G and 5G product marketing.

“Our intention is to put this into mobile devices and start testing them in the real world,” Hanna said, and Qualcomm expects the chip will reach 5Gbps data-transfer speeds.

Matt Branda, Qualcomm's director of 5G technical marketing

Matt Branda, Qualcomm’s director of 5G technical marketing

Stephen Shankland/CNET

If you’ve followed 5G networking, you may remember a promised delivery date of 2020. But the network industry have managed to speed up some parts of the standardization work. There are plenty of pilot projects, too. The highest profile likely will be the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, a country obsessed with super-fast networks.

5G network equipment will be expensive to install. Network operators will need upgrade all of their base stations, the central radio towers our phones talk to. They’ll also have to install more base stations for closer spacing and upgrade stations’ connections back to the main network. It’s worth it to the network operators, though, because 5G will let them satisfy our data demands.

“Delivering everything at a lower cost per bit motivates the operators to move to this system,” Branda said.

How motivated? Brace yourself for a mind-boggling price tag. The industry will spend $2.4 trillion between 2020 and 2030, according to IHS Markit. In the US alone, spending will peak in 2023 with a whopping $23 billion spent.

What makes 5G tick

For a generational shift like 5G, engineers must figure out how to squeeze more use out of the existing airwaves. There’s only so much room in the radio-wave spectrum, and most of it’s already claimed. For example, some frequency bands are reserved for broadcast TV. Police get some other bands. And carriers spend billions of dollars to obtain government licenses for other parts of the spectrum.

Qualcomm is working on millimeter-wave 5G networks that tap into into super-high frequency airwaves for sending data. These high-frequency radio radio waves struggle with obstacles, but Qualcomm says its technology is good enough to cover much of outdoor San Francisco even without having to add new radio towers. This simulation is based on existing mobile phone towers.

Qualcomm is working on “millimeter-wave” 5G networks that tap into super-high frequency airwaves for sending data. These high-frequency radio waves struggle with obstacles, but Qualcomm says its technology is good enough to cover much of outdoor San Francisco even without adding new radio towers. This simulation is based on existing mobile phone towers.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

But 5G taps into a new patch of the radio-frequency spectrum, the home of “millimeter-wave” radio signals.

“All this requires a scarce resource,” said Ulf Ewaldsson, a senior vice president at network equipment maker Ericsson. Radio spectrum is the “future oil.”

The oil boom started in places like Texas where you could drill a hole in the ground and money gushed out. As those supplies began to run out, oil companies pushed to harder areas like frozen arctic tundra and dangerous mid-sea drilling platforms. Similarly, radio broadcasts used the easiest frequencies first. The laws of physics make millimeter-wave radio communications tough.

For one thing, signals don’t travel very far because trees, buildings, your body and even the air can stop them.

“You need direct line of sight” with nothing between the phone and the network base station it’s communicating with, said Ronan Quinlan, joint chief executive of antenna specialist Taoglas.

Engineers overcome some range challenges with “beamforming,” which tightly focuses radio signals in a single direction, but Qualcomm thinks it’s got another part of the answer. It can bounce radio beams off some structures like light poles and buildings.

5G will also continue to take advantage of plenty of easier-to-use spectrum. The fancy new millimeter-wave connections will provide a boost when available, but phones will also be able to fill in the gaps with more traditional radio technology.

Future feature delay

Accelerating the 5G delivery schedule sounds great. But that effort, announced in February, came at a cost. That’s because 5G is meant to hook a lot of devices to the network other than just phones.

Ulf Ewaldsson, senior vice president at Ericsson

Ulf Ewaldsson, a senior vice president at Ericsson, says 5G will meet its promise of 1-millisecond latency.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

“Speeding up the standardization process has forced the key stakeholders to pull out many features of the 5G laundry list,” said Stéphane Téral, an IHS Markit research director for mobile networks and carrier economics.

Among those delayed features are fast-response networks. Ewaldsson expects that a later phase of 5G will fulfill its promise of 1-millisecond latency, meaning that only a thousandth of a second passes between when a message is sent and when it’s received. That’s 50 times quicker than with today’s 4G networks, according to equipment maker Huawei.

That fast response will be important for future network uses such as self-driving cars communicating with one another and with infrastructure like traffic signals. Such a response time could let a human operator remotely control mechanical equipment. It could, likewise, open new vistas for virtual reality and augmented reality where equipment must respond nearly instantly to changing perspectives. It could also mean that service robots helping elderly people will be able to communicate fast enough with control centers to be useful, according to Nokia.

Another major area for mobile networks will be the internet of things (IoT). Think of attaching thousands of soil monitors on a farm to a network, or imagine a hospital with a massive number of monitors for medical equipment. 5G will require less power than 4G and will be easier on monitor batteries in these kinds of situations.

However, carriers aren’t generally experienced selling anything besides network access to mobile phones. There will be a learning curve for them to work with factories building 5G robots or with mines using 5G excavation equipment, Ewaldsson said. Still, all those future network customers are key to justifying the big upgrade expense for 5G.

“The biggest challenge for the industry is going to be opening up fast enough for the business case to work out,” Ewaldsson said.

Those fast-response networks and the 5G-based internet-of-things tech will arrive — just not as soon as those anxious for more radical change would have liked. For now, we’ll have to be content with faster, higher-capacity networks for our phones.

First published October 16 at 6 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:30 p.m.: Adds news that Qualcomm got its 5G mobile modem chip working.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/5g-phone-networks-could-ease-data-limit-worries/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Argo AI CEO says to look past the self-driving hype

Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI to help bring self-driving cars to the masses. But don’t count on them arriving any time soon, if Argo’s CEO is to be taken at his word.

In a post on Medium, CEO Bryan Salesky suggests the public temper its expectations of near-future autonomous cars: “We’re taking a pragmatic approach to bringing about fully self-driving cars… We’re playing the long game and avoiding the hype in our commitment to bring this important technology to maturity.”

“Those who think fully self-driving vehicles will be ubiquitous on city streets months from now or even in a few years are not well connected to the state of the art or committed to the safe deployment of the technology,” Salesky wrote.

argo-ai-promoEnlarge Image

It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement around self-driving cars, but patience is a necessity if we want to make sure the first generation gets it right.

Argo AI

Many automakers have not shied away from trying to pin dates on when to expect self-driving cars. Some say it’s closer to the end of the decade, while others are admitting that this technology make take over a decade to perfect still. Argo AI obviously falls in the latter category, and the CEO’s Medium post sort of takes the others to task on their aggressive estimates.

If anything, the first generation of self-driving vehicles won’t be used to whisk you around town on a whim. They’ll likely get put to use in commercial endeavors first, whether that’s delivering mail, picking up garbage or as ride-hailing vehicles. Some moves have already been made in the latter category, like Waymo’s public trials in Phoenix.

Salesky believes there are still several hoops to jump through before we should even talk about big-time autonomy, most of which relates to hardware. He discusses the current shortcomings of lidar (needing cameras to flesh out its maps, which come with their own set of problems) and ultrasonic sensors (difficulty working in severe weather) as two key examples.

More likely than not, automakers will continue to take what they’ve learned and adapt it to improve modern driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control. GM has already expanded its cruise-control capabilities with the occasionally-hands-off Super Cruise, and Honda hopes to launch a semi-autonomous highway driving system by the end of the decade. Audi has a SAE Level 3 highway driving system in the 2019 A8, but it won’t be available in every market to start.

We do tend to report on many of these pie-in-the-sky claims, but they should always be taken with a grain of salt. If anything, covering these claims will serve to see who actually lives up to those promises, or if they’re nothing more than vapor. Odds are, we’ll get to the future many have envisioned, just not on the timelines we’ve been hearing about.

2019 Audi A8 - Traffic Jam Assist

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/argo-ai-ceo-says-to-look-past-the-self-driving-hype/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Have national security clearance? Facebook wants you

Reflection from Facebook social networking website reflected in woman's eyeEnlarge Image

Facebook is reportedly looking for employees who have national security clearance.

Iain Masterton/Getty Images

Facebook wants to hire employees who have national security clearances to help prevent foreign entities from impacting future American elections, Bloomberg reported Monday

The social network wants to use these people, who can access information classified by the US government, “to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections,” according to Bloomberg. 

Facebook officials declined to comment on the report.

Fake news disseminated online in the lead-up to Donald Trump‘s presidential victory last year has become a hot topic that has entangled tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google. Numerous reports say fake news shared on social networks helped Trump, and was connected to the Russian government.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/have-national-security-clearance-facebook-wants-you/#ftag=CAD590a51e