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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends making sure that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and smart TVs in your home are properly configured to protect them and your other devices from potential attackers. FBI's recommendations come after a long stream of malicious campaigns targeting such devices that usually are unsecured, to either add them to large botnets or use them as a stepping stone in multi-stage attacks aiming for other devices like smartphones and personal computers. This advice aims to help you build a digital defense around your smart TV and IoT devices to protect your sensitive personal and financial information, seeing that they are easily reachable as they usually come with an Internet connection enabled by default. "Unsecured devices can allow hackers a path into your router, giving the bad guy access to everything else on your home network that you thought was secure," the FBI Portland Office says. "59.7% of routers have weak credentials or some vulnerabilities" and "59.1% of users worldwide have never logged into their router or have never updated its firmware," said Avast in its 2019 Smart Home Security Report published in February — the stats were extracted from data collected from 16 million different home networks and 56 million devices all over the world. The easiest way to protect your data from a hacker that manages to compromise one of your IoT devices is to secure your home network by segregating them on a separate network. "Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network," the FBI says. "Keep your most private, sensitive data on a separate system from your other IoT devices." The US federal law enforcement agency also advises changing the devices' default password with unique and hard to crack passwords, thus blocking any hacking attempts trying to use known passwords set with factory settings. Making sure that mobile apps paired with such devices don't have permissions that would allow them to harvest your information is also recommended, as is always keeping all your IoT devices up to date by enabling automatic updates whenever possible. "Beyond the risk that your TV manufacturer and app developers may be listening and watching you, that television can also be a gateway for hackers to come into your home," the FBI states. "A bad cyber actor may not be able to access your locked-down computer directly, but it is possible that your unsecured TV can give him or her an easy way in the backdoor through your router." Following a successful attack, hackers can take control of the smart TV in your living room or bedroom to spy on you using the built-in microphone and camera. For recommendations please visit OUR FORUM.

The US Federal Communications Commission last month put restrictions on US rural carriers, which rely on Huawei to deliver internet, phone and other services. Huawei criticised the decision as unconstitutional. Huawei has launched a legal bid to fight a decision by US regulators to shut it out of the American market. Speaking at a press conference at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen on Thursday, Chief Legal Officer Song Liuping said the company had filed a petition with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to challenge the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC).
What is Huawei trying to overrule?
The FCC last month barred American rural mobile providers from using the $8.5 billion a year Universal Service Fund to buy products from companies that pose a “national security threat.” The commission designated Huawei and ZTE as companies targeted by this rule, claiming that they both have close ties to the Chinese government and military as well as being subject to Chinese laws requiring them to carry out espionage.
What did Huawei respond?
Huawei is now asking the Court of Appeal to overturn that decision; the company argues that that the FCC has failed to provide any evidence to back up its allegations.

Twitter’s new terms of service, may ‘limit visibility’ of some users. Twitter’s new terms of service will allow the platform to “shadow ban” users – secretly suppressing their content. While critics have long suspected the company of doing it, the new rules appear to make the practice official. Taking effect in January 2020, Twitter’s new terms initially don’t look like much to write home about, but some tweaks to the language could have larger repercussions for users, limiting their reach behind the scenes without their knowledge. “We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you,” the new terms state (emphasis added). With the addition of those four words, the company is telling users it reserves the right shadow ban or “throttle” certain accounts. On what basis will it make those decisions – or whether they will be made solely by an automated algorithm – remains unclear. While Twitter has previously insisted point-blank “We do not shadow ban,” in the pre-2020 terms the company split hairs between shadow banning and “ranking” posts to determine their prominence on the site, and acknowledged deliberately down-ranking “bad-faith actors” to limit their visibility.

Alphabet CEO Larry Page announced Tuesday that he will step down from the position. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of the parent company in addition to his current role. Co-founder Sergey Brin will also step down as president of Alphabet and the role will be eliminated. Alphabet’s stock was up as much as 0.8% after hours. “With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure,” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.” Page became CEO of Alphabet in 2015 when Google reorganized to form the new parent company to oversee its “Other Bets” outside of its main search and digital ads businesses. Page had previously served as CEO of Google. Under the new structure, Pichai became CEO of Google after effectively running much of the business as Page had taken a step back to focus on big-picture endeavors. Pichai had previously led Android and Chrome at the company. Both Page and Brin will remain “actively involved” as members of Alphabet’s board, according to the letter. The co-founders still have controlling voting shares of the company. Page holds about 5.8% of Alphabet shares, Brin controls about 5.6% and Pichai holds about 0.1%, ensuring the new CEO may still be challenged by the company’s founders. Google said its voting structure is not changing in light of the announcement. Alphabet may need to lean more heavily on its other bets, which include companies like Waymo and Verily, as its core digital advertising business run by Google shows signs of slowing down. Google showed slowing ad revenue in its first quarter of 2019 and lower profit compared to the previous year during the third quarter. The company has still struggled to generate significant revenue in hardware, although its cloud business is growing. Page and Pichai have overseen the company during a tumultuous few years as Google employees have voiced their discontent with company policies. Thousands of Google employees walked out of offices around the world last year to protest a $90 million exit package Google reportedly paid to former Android leader Andy Rubin despite finding sexual misconduct claims against him to be credible, a New York Times investigation revealed. Alphabet’s board has opened an investigation into how executives have handled claims of sexual misconduct, CNBC reported last month. Google has been forced to back off certain projects that have pushback from employees. In 2018, Google’s cloud chief at the time said the company would not renew its contract with the Department of Defense after it was set to expire in March 2019. The decision followed a petition signed by thousands of employees urging Pichai to keep Google out of the “business of war.” Google employees have also urged the company to back off its plans to build a censored search engine for China after The Intercept reported on the plans cryptically called Project Dragonfly. There's a lot more posted on OUR FORUM.

Wireless earbuds have gone from a sparse selection to an extremely populated and competitive area of tech in just a couple of short years. Apple users will swear by AirPods but there’s also plenty of grá for the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Jabra Elite Active 65t. Huawei is hoping to break into the top table of this sector with its FreeBuds 3. As the name suggests, it’s the third iteration of the FreeBuds and they’re clearly the best the Chinese company has produced to this point. The similarity in the design of the Freebuds 3 and AirPods 2 is striking, with both products having an open-fit design, however, included in the Huawei version is some clever technology to integrate active noise cancellation.  Now, let’s be clear. Because the FreeBuds don’t seal in your ear, you can’t expect the world from the noise-canceling element. It won’t block out someone speaking into your ear but it does make a noticeable difference for drowning out background noise in an office setting. A real plus is an option in the AI Life app to adjust the noise-canceling to suit your preferences. Considering they’re an open-ear design, I was impressed that there was any noise canceling at all. They’re light and comfortable, so much so that the old cliché of ‘You’d nearly forget you’re wearing them’ applies here. But you really would; while testing them I’d a couple of mild moments of panic where I had to check they were still in my ears. But falling out was never a problem for everyday use, although I didn’t use them while working out so I can’t attest to their effectiveness in that regard. In terms of sound, you don’t get the deep rumbling bass you might get from other headphones, but a 14mm driver with a bass tube in each earbud has created a solid result. Snugger in-ears will provide a better sound but the open-fit design trades off comfort and sounds excellent to give you good sound without feeling like you've something wedged in your ear. Huawei has also implemented a feature called Bone Voice ID on the Freebuds 3, which is extremely effective for making calls. The neat little feature differentiates between a user’s voice during a call and background noise by picking up vibrations from your mouth. While the earbuds have a battery life of around four hours, the included case can charge your Freebuds up to four times before running out of battery. Huawei says it will last you 20 hours in all, but if noise canceling is active you can expect them to die a little quicker than that. One feature Huawei should consider adding is an automatic pause on any media playing when you remove an earbud from your ear. The Galaxy Buds have a similar feature that works well and it would also help save on battery. The Freebuds 3 do not have any physical controls, except for on the case. Instead, you can control them with double-tap gestures or through the AI Life app. These basic gestures work reasonably well, although it did sometimes take a couple of goes to get it right. Want to know more, make your way over to OUR FORUM.

Windows 10 November 2019 Update ISO images are available, allowing users to quickly upgrade from any version of Windows. You can download ISOs of Windows 10 November 2019 Update if you want to install the OS from scratch. Windows 10 ISO images are available through Microsoft’s download website, but if you try to access the download page on a Windows machine, it forces you to download the Media Creation Tool. Media Creation Tool can also download and create installation media of Windows 10, but you won’t get the disc image. As we noted above, Microsoft’s download page forces you to download the Media Creation Tool, but if you access the same website from another operating like Android, iOS or macOS, you’ll be able to download the ISO files. Fortunately, there’s an easier way to download Windows 10 version 1909 ISO file without using the Windows Media Creation Tool. All you need is a web browser that allows you to spoof the user agent settings, so you can pretend you’re using another operating system and direct download the ISO files on Windows. This trick works in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge (both versions), Firefox and other known browsers. In this guide, we’ll be using Google Chrome/Microsoft Edge. The ISO file is approximately 4GB in size and if you have concerns about file size, you should consider using Media Creation Tool to create a bootable USB drive. If we look at the hardware, Windows 10 Version 1903 and 1909 are the only ones officially compatible with 10th generation Intel processors. Both these versions will also have the same base kernel and system files. Therefore, both versions will get the same cumulative updates in the future. So it’s safe to say that you can upgrade to 1909 safely if you are already running Windows 10 Version 1903. If you install this version without an Internet connection, the build number will be 18363.418. But since this version is available along with other Patch Tuesday updates, new updates will be installed and your build number will become 18363.476. Stop by OUR FORUM for step-by-step instructions to download Windows 10 November 2019 Update ISO.